Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $430,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) at five large oil storage facilities.
The food processing and commodities trading company settled the violations in relation to plants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Columbus, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; and Mexico and Deerfield, both in Missouri.
Each of the five ADM facilities produces and stores more than one million gallons of oil and combined, the sites have an estimated storage capacity of more than 36 million gallons.
Lack of response plan
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the lack of a response plan during a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) inspection in 2008 at ADM’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa, facility.
The site required a Facility Response Plan (FRP) because the storage capacity of its denatured ethanol tanks exceeded one million gallons.
ADM committed to develop and submit an FRP, but failed to do so for Cedar Rapids and three additional facilities until almost two years later in 2010.
ADM’s Deerfield plant also operated for a period in 2011 and 2012 without a required updated FRP.
The firm told FoodQualityNews.com that it worked constructively with EPA to resolve the issues they raised.
“ADM is committed to serving as a good steward of the environment,” said Jackie Anderson, a spokeswoman from the company.
“We have an environmental compliance program in place to meet our environmental obligations, while pursuing ways to continually improve our efforts in both protecting the environment and enhancing environmental sustainability.”
The Clean Water Act requires facilities that store large quantities of oil to develop response plans that outline procedures for addressing “worst-case” discharges of oil.
‘Reflects serious nature’
Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 administrator, said the penalty imposed reflects the serious nature of noncompliance with the requirements.
“By coming into compliance with the law, ADM is now better prepared to respond to spills that can harm the environment. Proper preparation for spills and emergencies can help avoid large-scale environmental disasters. We call upon other companies to do the same.”
The settlement resolves violations of the industrial stormwater requirements of three CWA operating permits issued for the Cedar Rapids, Columbus, and Deerfield facilities.
The violations included failure to implement best management practices, failure to conduct and record site inspections, exceedances of permitted effluent limits, and unauthorized discharges of non-stormwater to waters in violation of the facilities’ CWA permits.
To document future compliance with the CWA, ADM must report on the FRP program and the applicable industrial stormwater permits at the referenced facilities for three years.