DuPont Fined Nearly $1.3 Million for Discharge Violations

01.09.2014 -

DuPont has agreed to pay fines of $1.275 million to the US federal government for eight alleged releases of harmful levels of hazardous substances at its Belle, West Virginia, plant between May 2006 and January 2010.

The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, said several of the releases posed significant risk to people or the Kanawha River. One DuPont worker died after exposure to phosgene, which the agency said was due to the company's failure to comply with industry accident prevention procedures.

In addition to the penalty, DuPont will take corrective actions to prevent future releases to resolve the alleged violations of the general duty clause and risk management provisions of the Clean Air Act, and the emergency response provisions of Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and Section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said the settlement with DuPont will ensure that the proper practices for dealing with hazardous products are in place to protect communities and nearby water bodies.

As part of the settlement, DuPont will implement enhanced risk management operating procedures to improve its process of responding to alarms triggered by releases of hazardous substances. 

The Delaware-based chemical giant will also develop an enhanced operating procedure to improve its management of change process, a best practice used to ensure that safety, health and environmental risks are controlled when a company makes changes to its processes. 

It will also improve procedures to notify federal, state, and local responders of emergency releases, and will conduct training exercises to prepare employees to make such notifications. 

DuPont estimates that it will spend almost $2.3 billion to complete the required improvements to its safety and emergency response processes. Previously, on March 18, 2010 the EPA issued an administrative order to the company to undertake corrective measures related to the releases. DuPont estimates that it has spent approximately $6.8 million to comply with the administrative order.

In July, of this year, the company agreed to pay a $440,000 civil penalty and comply with air pollution control measures required by the Clean Air Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act at its Yerkes plant in Tonawanda, New York.