Ethanol Maker to Pay $1.7M for Absent Chemical Reporting
WASHINGTON — The owner of four Midwest ethanol plants has agreed to pay more than $1.7 million to resolve allegations it failed to report toxic chemical releases in four Midwestern states.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the total penalty, $1,731,256, spread over two consent agreements and final orders, is the largest penalty the agency has collected for this type of violation.
Andersons Marathon Holdings was accused of violating the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act by failing to report alleged chemical spills from the fermentation vapor stream at its ethanol facilities in Logansport, Indiana, Denison, Iowa, Albion, Michigan and Greenville, Ohio.
The EPA’s Region 5 office, which covers most of the affected areas, will receive $1,522,015 to resolve 99 alleged violations, and its Region 7 office, which covers the rest, will receive $209,241 to resolve a total of 32 alleged violations.
EPA officials say since being notified of the alleged violations, Andersons Marathon has filed its 2015-2020 EPCRA Town Chemical Release Forms and corrected its 2015-2002 data quality errors for chemicals including benzene, ethylbenzene and toluene, among other chemicals.
The EPA and Andersons Marathon have also agreed as to how Andersons Marathon will report its future manufacture, process, or other use of fermentation chemicals (acetaldehyde, methanol, acrolein, formaldehyde and formic acid).
As a result of the action and for future reporting, Andersons Marathon has adjusted measurements and releases of n-hexane and ammonia at its facilities, the agency said.
“EPA is committed to protecting people from pollution and taking action to ensure facilities are reporting releases in an accurate and timely fashion as required by law,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield in a written statement.
Starfield , who is with the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, went on to say the settlement, “ensures the communities surrounding the four facilities have the best available information that they deserve and empowers them to act at a local level when necessary.”
The Well News has reached out to Andersons Marathon for comment.
Dan can be reached at email@example.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.