FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEEPA
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2000(202) 514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
U.S. SUES GUIDE CORP. AND CROWN ENVIRONMENTAL
FOR MASSIVE FISH KILL IN INDIANA
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice on behalf of the the EPA today filed a lawsuit against Guide Corp. and Crown Environmental Group, Inc. for discharging pollutants into the White River and causing one of the largest fish kills in Indiana history.
The United States alleges that the companies violated the Clean Water Act when, on multiple occasions in December 1999, they discharged toxic pollutants from the Guide facility in Anderson, Ind., into the local wastewater treatment plant, disrupted plant operations, and caused pollutants to enter the White River. Pollutants discharged into the river included ammonia, thiram and other thiurams, amines, and carbamates.
Shortly after these discharges, hundreds of thousands of fish died along a 50-mile stretch of the river, and the ecosystem of the river was severely damaged.
The United States also alleges that the defendants violated federal and local wastewater pretreatment standards by failing to notify the sewage plant about the changes in their operations and the pollutants they discharged into the plant.
"Our laws do not allow the kind of severe insult to the environment that occurred in this case. We will be vigorous in our pursuit of those responsible, and we will make every effort to see that the White River is restored," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources at the Justice Department.
The complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis seeks to restore the river environment, to undo the damage done to the fish populations and other aquatic life, and it also asks the court to impose civil penalties under the Clean Water Act. The State of Indiana has filed a similar complaint and will move to have its suit consolidated with the federal suit.
"This action demonstrates the value of federal and state agencies working closely together to ensure that environmental wrongdoers are found and held responsible for the damage they cause," said EPA Regional Administrator Francis X. Lyons. "Indiana and the United States have worked together successfully in the past on joint environmental cases, such as the case against the Hammond Sanitary District, that have achieved very favorable results. We look forward to a successful resolution of this case which will send a clear message that industrial users may not discharge harmful pollutants into our waterways."
Guide is one of the world's largest manufacturers of automotive lighting. Crown Environmental, based in Dayton, Ohio, was hired to operate Guide's wastewater treatment plant.