Roquette America must pay a $4.1-million dollar penalty to settle allegations that it dumped industrial waste into the Mississippi River and Soap Creek.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the company has known for years that the wastewater treatment plant at its grain-processing facility in Keokuk couldn’t handle spills or surges.
The EPA says instead of addressing the plant, industrial waste was allowed to discharge directly into the two waterways.
“The magnitude of these violations warrants the magnitude of the penalty,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks. “The Mississippi River is a vital waterway, used by millions of Americans for commerce, recreation, and drinking water. It is imperative that industrial facilities abide by their discharge permits to protect our valuable water resources.”
The news release from the EPA states that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued three Administrative Orders and eight Notices of Violation to Roquette since 2000.
At the request of the IDNR, the EPA initiated its review of the violations.
The agency says Roquette has violated its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit at least 1,174 times and on at least 30 occasions, illegally discharged at least 250,000 gallons of industrial waste into the Mississippi River and Soap Creek via storm drains.
“Roquette’s actions resulted in over a thousand permit violations and allowed the discharge of untreated industrial waste into the Mississippi River and another Iowa waterway even after it was informed on numerous occasions it was violating its state permit and federal law, says Ignacia Moreno, who is Asst. AG of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
“This settlement holds Roquette accountable for its multiple violations of the nation’s Clean Water Act and requires sewer improvements, wastewater treatment upgrades, enhanced monitoring and independent compliance audits that will benefit public health and the environment for the people of Iowa for years to come.”
The company must also invest more than 17-million dollars in programs and projects aimed at protecting the two waterways.
Roquette America Takes Action toward Sustainable Environmental Operations
November 13, 2012
Roquette America, Inc. (Roquette) has entered into a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency in settlement of permitting-related issues involving Roquette’s plant in Keokuk, IA.
Roquette, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency worked collaboratively to address environmental concerns at the Keokuk plant and to establish corrective actions for the company going forward.
The Consent Decree resolves environmental incidents, establishes a set of environmental best practices for the company going forward, and addresses improvements to waste treatment operations at the Keokuk facility.
Prior to entering into this Consent Decree, Roquette made a $30 million commitment to these and a number of other capital improvements designed to modernize the existing plant and assure compliance with all relevant environmental standards.
Roquette remains committed to the highest standards of environmental protection.