Indiana Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act False Statement Violations
Calumite Company LLC (Calumite), a manufacturer of an additive used in the production of glass, entered a plea of guilty today in U.S. District Court in Hammond, Indiana, to two Clean Air Act false statement violations. The company has agreed to pay a $325,000 fine, serve a two-year term of probation, and implement an environmental compliance plan that includes an annual environmental compliance training program. Sentencing will be scheduled for a later date.
Calumite, located near the shores of Lake Michigan in Portage, Indiana, manufactures and sells a powdery substance of the same name to various glass manufacturers. The company collects slag, a waste product of the steel industry, dries it in a hot gas oven, crushes it into a fine powder, and then ships it off-site to glass manufacturers, who use it as an additive to lower the temperature at which glass can be produced.
Calumite's Portage facility was subject to a Title V Clean Air Act Operating Permit issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Among other things, the permit required that Calumite operate, maintain, and monitor several “baghouses” on-site that are used to control and minimize emissions of a fine particulate. One of the baghouses, known as the loadout baghouse, was used to collect emissions of particulate that occurred during the loading of product onto tractor trailers and rail cars for shipment to customers.
A differential pressure gauge (DP gauge) attached to each baghouse continuously monitored and measured the efficiency and effectiveness of the baghouses and helped to determine whether they were operating properly. Calumite’s permit required that DP gauges on the baghouses be read daily, while the baghouses were operating, and that the results be recorded on daily maintenance log sheets. The company also was required to submit quarterly reports to IDEM that stated whether the company was in compliance with permit requirements.
From Dec. 5, 2008, through late July 2009, the company did not maintain the loadout baghouse in operating condition and the DP gauge was broken. Nevertheless, during this same time period, employees continued to load tractor trailers and rail cars with product for shipment off-site. Calumite employees knowingly continued to routinely fill out daily logs that falsely reflected DP gauge monitoring readings that were within the range allowed by the permit, and caused false information to be submitted to IDEM in the company’s quarterly reports.
The Clean Air Act makes it a crime to knowing make a material false statement or omit material information from a document that is required to be filed or maintained under the statute. Both the daily maintenance logs and the quarterly reports were required by Calumite’s permit and the Clean Air Act.
The case was investigated by the Northern District of Indiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, including agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.