Chief Engineer Sentenced to More Than a Year in Prison for Obstruction of Justice and Oil Dumping Offenses
Austin Powder Company, owner and operator of the Red Diamond explosives manufacturing plant located near McArthur, Ohio, has agreed to implement significant upgrades to that facility’s wastewater treatment operations to resolve numerous Clean Water Act violations. It will also pay a civil penalty of $2.3 million.
The complaint, filed contemporaneously with the settlement, alleges that since 2013 the facility has had hundreds of discharges of pollutants in violation of the effluent limitations in its permits and failed to fully comply with an earlier EPA Administrative Order on Consent which sought to resolve these concerns.
“Industrial dischargers must ensure their operations do not foul our nation’s waters,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The improvements required by this settlement will greatly improve Austin Powder’s compliance with its permits and improve the health of the Ohio River and its tributaries.”
“This settlement will prevent tens of thousands of pounds of pollutants from entering Ohio streams and rivers each year,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Ohio communities will benefit from cleaner water and a healthier environment.”
Under the proposed settlement, Austin Powder will invest approximately $3 million to improve two of its wastewater treatment plants, including implementing comprehensive operation and maintenance plans. The company has already eliminated discharges from four other on-site plants and under the consent decree will eliminate discharges from a fifth plant. These improvements will be completed on or before Dec. 31.
This agreement will improve water quality in the tributaries of Raccoon Creek and Elk Fork, both of which are tributaries to the Ohio River. Implementing the consent decree will reduce pollutants discharged from the Red Diamond Plant into these two water bodies by approximately 84,000 pounds annually.
The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval after it is published in the Federal Register. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit the Department of Justice website at: www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.