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E-M:/ EPA REgion V Enforcement Report



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Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com
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Note Michigan content in this EPA Region V news release summarizing
their 1997 enforcement activities.....

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Technical Contact: Tinka Hyde
                                                   (312) 886-9296 

                                      Media Contacts: Karen Thompson
                                                   (312) 353-8547 

                                                    Phillippa Cannon
                                                   (312) 353-6218 

            For Immediate Release: January 22, 1998 

            No. 98-OPA019 

            EPA REGION 5 REPORTS RECORD YEAR FOR
            ENFORCEMENT PENALTIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL
            PROJECT FUNDING 

            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
litigation
            conclusions. Actions by EPA to protect public health and the
            environment resulted in more arrests, prison time, fines, and
returns to
            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,
151 in
            Indiana, 114 in Michigan, 44 in Minnesota, 86 in Ohio, and 33 in
            Wisconsin. 

            CRIMINAL CASES
            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
            the environment. 

            Two criminal cases that impacted neighborhood safety and grabbed
            national headlines include those of pesticide sprayers, one in
Ohio and
            another in Chicago. The unlicensed exterminators used the highly
toxic
            agricultural pesticide methyl parathion to kill roaches in more
than 900
            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
contaminated
            homes. 

            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
supplemental
            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
which it
            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
agreed to
            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
replacement is
            expected to result in potential human health and worker protection
            due to a 75 percent reduction (34 tons per year) in nitrogen oxide
            emissions. 

            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
January
            1997, the company agreed to pay nearly $5 million in civil
penalties,
            spend more than $1 million on environmental cleanup projects
            suggested by citizens, and spend millions to clean up
contamination at
            the plant to settle the lawsuit. 

            UNIQUE SOLUTIONS
            Other cases and unique solutions that demonstrate Region 5's impact
            on improving the public health and environment in the Midwest
            include: 

            *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
this case
            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
lead-bearing
            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
fine, the
            company agreed to install and operate three community-warning
            sirens in residential areas. 

            *3M was fined $238,000 for illegally selling and distributing
O-Cel-O
            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
hazardous
            air pollutants by 10 tons per year. Although emission reductions are
            required by law, the project will reach the cuts 18 months
earlier than
            required. 

            *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
effect
            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
of the
            sediments will be removed from those areas and prevented from
            entering Lake Michigan. 

            COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE
            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
region
            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
assistance in
            meeting environmental regulations. 

                                     ###

                                 


            Page maintained by: Jeff Kelley, Office of Public Affairs
            (kelley.jeff@epamail.epa.gov)
            Last Updated: January 27, 1998 
            URL: http://www.epa.gov/Region5/news98/98opa019.htm 

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)



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