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EPA, Justice Department and Texas Settle with DuPont for Alleged Violations of Waste, Water and Air Environmental Laws at Former La Porte, Texas Facility

News Releases from HeadquartersEnforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

07/13/2020

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EPA, Justice Department and Texas Settle with DuPont for Alleged Violations of Waste, Water and Air Environmental Laws at Former La Porte, Texas Facility

WASHINGTON (July 13, 2020) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the state of Texas have announced a settlement with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) to resolve alleged hazardous waste, air, and water violations at its former La Porte, Texas chemical manufacturing facility. In 2014, the La Porte facility was the site of a chemical accident where the release of nearly 24,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan resulted in the death of four workers and forced the company to permanently close the chemical manufacturing plant in 2016. As part of a separate settlement in 2018, DuPont paid a $3.1 million civil penalty for violating EPA’s chemical accident prevention program. Under this settlement agreement, DuPont will pay a $3.195 million civil penalty.

“This settlement concludes EPA’s efforts since 2008 to address impacts to the environment at the La Porte site,” said EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine. “Although DuPont’s chemical manufacturing facility never reopened after the 2014 explosion, there are other operations located on the DuPont-owned property. This settlement ensures both proper management of the wastes generated by those operations as well as the cleanup of contamination from past operations.”

“This settlement represents TCEQ’s ongoing commitment to protecting human health and the environment, and is a crucial step in the restoration process,” said Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Executive Director Toby Baker.

This settlement resolves alleged violations of the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA) from DuPont’s past chemical manufacturing operations. The alleged RCRA violations include failure to make hazardous waste determinations; treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste without a permit; and, failure to meet land disposal restrictions. The alleged CWA violations include failure to fully implement the facility’s oil spill prevention plan and alleged CAA violations include failure to comply with applicable emissions standards at its Biological Water Treatment unit.

Even though the facility closed in 2016, DuPont continues to operate a wastewater treatment system on site and, as a result of this settlement, will perform sampling and analysis to determine the extent of any existing soil, sediment, or groundwater contamination within or around impoundments remaining on site which may contain wastes from the closed chemical manufacturing plant. DuPont will perform this work pursuant to Texas’ Risk Reduction Program and perform any necessary cleanup.

The Consent Decree was lodged on July 9, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

For more information on this settlement: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/dupont-settlement-information-sheet

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Author: Headquarters, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

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