US Agrifos to pay EPA hazardous waste penalty

07 December 2011 22:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US chemical company Agrifos has agreed to pay a $1.8m (€1.35m) penalty to resolve environmental violations at at its Pasadena plant in Texas, a US agency said on Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Agrifos, a former phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizer producer, has agreed to pay a penalty and conduct an environmental project to resolve violations that include processing and disposing of hazardous wastewater without a permit and the improper routing of effluent from a scrubber through a cooling tower.

The actions were made in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Air Act, the EPA said.

Agrifos ceased producing phosphate fertilizers in July, 2010, and now produces sulphuric acid and ammonium sulphate fertilizers.

“Today’s settlement will significantly reduce the amount of contaminated runoff flowing from the Agrifos facility into local waterways, including the Houston Ship Channel,” the EPA said.

Agrifos did not immediately respond to calls requesting comment.

Under the agreement, Agrifos will spend $600,000 to build a storm water collection and containment barrier around its fertilizer plant to eliminate or minimise impact on the environment.

There have been four enforcement actions related to the Agrifos site in the last three years, the EPA said.

In 2010, Agrifos paid a $535,206 civil penalty to the EPA for Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA), Superfund, and Clean Air Act violations at its facility.

Also in 2010, a settlement for $1.485m was reached with Air Products, an adjacent chemical facility, to resolve violations which included the exchange of contaminated waste acid from Air Products to Agrifos.

A 2010 settlement requires ExxonMobil to conduct closure and cleanup work on the phosphogypsum stacks system at the Agrifos facility, which was previously owned by ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil also agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty. And, in September 2008, RCRA and Superfund orders were issued to ExxonMobil and Agrifos to address the release of contaminated wastewater from the gypsum stacks at the Agrifos site into the Houston Ship Channel.

($1 = €0.75)


By: Frank Zaworski
+1 713 525 2653



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