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Press Release

Harcros Chemicals Pleads Guilty To Violating Clean Air Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Kansas

TOPEKA, KAN. – Harcros Chemicals, Inc., of Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty today to violating a federal clean air law in connection with a toxic chlorine gas cloud that formed over Atchison, Kan., in 2016, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

According to the company’s plea agreement, Harcros is expected to pay a $1 million fine. The co-defendant in the case, MGP Ingredients, Inc., of Atchison pleaded guilty in November in the same case. That company also is expected to pay a $1 million fine.

Harcros pleaded guilty to negligently violating the federal Clean Air Act. In its plea, the company admitted that on Oct. 21, 2016, a greenish-yellow chlorine gas cloud formed when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite. The Atchison County Department of Emergency Management ordered community members to shelter in place and to evacuate in some areas. Approximately 140 individuals including members of the public, first responders, employees of MGP Ingredients and Harcros Chemicals sought medical attention.

“The chemicals involved in this case posed serious public health and environmental dangers,” said Assistant Director Justin Oesterreich of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas.  “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put an entire community at risk.”

Harcros is set for sentencing May 27.

McAllister commended the Environmental Protection Agency and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Hathaway for their work on the case.

Victims can get more information on US v. Midwest Grain Products, Inc., by visiting and filling out a victim questionnaire, leaving a message on a designated phone line at 913-551-6543 or emailing questions to


Updated January 31, 2020