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E-M:/ EPA REgion V Enforcement Report
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Note Michigan content in this EPA Region V news release summarizing
their 1997 enforcement activities.....
Technical Contact: Tinka Hyde
Media Contacts: Karen Thompson
For Immediate Release: January 22, 1998
EPA REGION 5 REPORTS RECORD YEAR FOR
ENFORCEMENT PENALTIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 today
announced that Fiscal Year 1997 was a record year for all
enforcement categories--most significantly in settlements and
conclusions. Actions by EPA to protect public health and the
environment resulted in more arrests, prison time, fines, and
compliance than ever before.
During the last year, the Region settled 641 formal enforcement
actions which resulted in over $84.1 million in penalties and $7.5
million spent on supplemental environmental projects.
Region 5 referred 106 civil actions to the Department of Justice in
1997, double the number of cases referred in 1996. Approximately
one-third of the concluded cases were filed and settled in FY97.
State-by-State, EPA issued 69 administrative orders in Illinois,
Indiana, 114 in Michigan, 44 in Minnesota, 86 in Ohio, and 33 in
In addition, the region's Criminal Investigations Unit assessed more
than $76.4 million in fines and restitution, 38 persons were charged
and more than 20 years of prison time was imposed for crimes against
Two criminal cases that impacted neighborhood safety and grabbed
national headlines include those of pesticide sprayers, one in
another in Chicago. The unlicensed exterminators used the highly
agricultural pesticide methyl parathion to kill roaches in more
homes in these communities. Both will serve jail time. EPA evacuated
and relocated hundreds of residents threatened by exposure to the
chemical --which is chemically related to nerve gas -- and spent
several million dollars on the cleanup and restoration of
SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
The large increase in the number of cases closed in FY 1997 resulted
in substantial gains in compliance and cleanup relief and
project funding in very polluted areas. A supplemental environmental
project is an environmentally beneficial project which a defendent
agrees to carry out in settlement of an enforcement action, but
is not otherwise legally required to perform.
"These numbers represent real environmental benefits," said David A.
Ullrich, Acting Regional Administrator. "Through negotiations,
violators agreed to reduce or eliminate pollution, in some cases
beyond what the law requires. Also, in many instances, they
carry out special projects to improve the environment in the
communities where the pollution occurred."
"The bottom line is more compliance, less pollution, and a cleaner
environment. It was a great year," said Ullrich.
An example of the effectiveness of supplemental environmental
projects is the settlement with Uno-Ven Co., Lemont, IL, where -- in
addition to paying a fine in excess of $120,000 -- the company
agreed to replace the burners in its process heater. The
expected to result in potential human health and worker protection
due to a 75 percent reduction (34 tons per year) in nitrogen oxide
An example of Region 5's multi-media enforcement actions and
commitment to urban environmental renewal played out in the
Sherwin-Williams case in south Chicago. EPA had sued the paint
manufacturer for violations of several environmental laws. In
1997, the company agreed to pay nearly $5 million in civil
spend more than $1 million on environmental cleanup projects
suggested by citizens, and spend millions to clean up
the plant to settle the lawsuit.
Other cases and unique solutions that demonstrate Region 5's impact
on improving the public health and environment in the Midwest
*Michigan smelter Giddings and Lewis was charged with disposing of
hazardous waste via smokestack emission into the surrounding
neighborhood of Menominee, MI. EPA's laser opacity-reading
devices and on-site interviews were instrumental in breaking
which carried fines and restitution of almost $500,000.
*The vice president of an Illinois farm equipment manufacturer was
charged with ordering burial of 40 barrels of solvent and
paint waste. He served 14 months in custody and his employer was
fined $100,000, required to clean up the contaminated soil and
publish an apology in the local newspaper.
*A town in Wisconsin and a private waste hauler were ordered to
share $1.85 million in costs for Superfund landfill cleanup and
preserve natural wildlife habitats compatible with the Upper
Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge next door.
*BP Chemicals was cited for not reporting to proper authorities the
accidental release of 2,678 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a
hazardous substance, from its Ohio facility. In addition to the
company agreed to install and operate three community-warning
sirens in residential areas.
*3M was fined $238,000 for illegally selling and distributing
sponges with germ-killing claims without registering them as
pesticides. The company was ordered to change advertising
descriptions and spend $300,000 on ads to reeducate consumers.
*Mobil Oil agreed to pay a cash penalty of $125,000 and to perform
an $80,000 environmental project to cut volatile organic compound
emissions from its Illinois refinery by 61 tons per year and
air pollutants by 10 tons per year. Although emission reductions are
required by law, the project will reach the cuts 18 months
*EPA came to an agreement with potentially responsible parties
(PRP's) to clean up PCB-contaminated sediments in Manistique River
and Harbor in Manistique, MI. A health advisory against eating some
fish from the harbor because of high levels of PCBs has been in
since 1984. The settlement is a mixed-funding agreement where the
PRPs will pay $6.4 million to clean up two areas of contaminated
sediments in the river and harbor and EPA will dredge a "hotspot" in
the upper portion of the site. EPA is confident that almost all
sediments will be removed from those areas and prevented from
entering Lake Michigan.
During fiscal year 1997, the region also expanded the use of a new
EPA policy that encourages industry to disclose and correct
environmental violations. EPA invited 22 steel mini-mills in the
to disclose environmental violations and meet environmental rules
prior to EPA inspections. Forty per cent of the eligible mills
participated by submitting to EPA results of their environmental
audits. A majority of those mills that did not conduct and submit
audits have been inspected by EPA. The remainder will be surveyed
in early 1998. In the past year, EPA also worked closely with the
State of Illinois to inspect dry cleaners and provide them
meeting environmental regulations.
Page maintained by: Jeff Kelley, Office of Public Affairs
Last Updated: January 27, 1998
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