Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. will pay a $2.25 million civil penalty to settle violations of federal and state pollution laws. A 2007 inspection of the company’s facility in Mexico, Mo., revealed violations of the Clean Air Act. The violations included failure to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants from wastewater and failure to comply with regulations designed to prevent leaks of air pollutants from equipment at the facility.
In 2007, an EPA inspection found the Teva facility was discharging pollutants above permitted levels established by the City of Mexico’s Pretreatment Program, in violation of the Clean Water Act. In some cases, these pollutants were interfering with the city’s ability to treat its domestic sewage, leading to pollutant discharges into the Salt River. A 2008 inspection found that Teva was discharging a green effluent that ultimately discolored a portion of the Salt River in November and December 2008. In 2009, an inspection by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources uncovered various RCRA violations. These violations included failure to determine if waste was hazardous, illegal storage of hazardous waste, failure to comply with labeling requirements and offering hazardous waste for transport without a manifest. Ignacia S. Moreno, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, had this to say:
This settlement penalizes Teva for multiple violations of U.S. environmental laws when it allowed excess emissions of hazardous air pollutants from Teva’s wastewater treatment facility and excess discharges of pollutants into the City of Mexico, Missouri’s wastewater treatment facility.
With numerous violations over a period of years, Teva’s actions resulted in significant environmental damage to the air and water. Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator, said the penalty and injunctive relief required by this agreement send a strong message to Teva and others that businesses must comply with environmental laws.
Teva’s $2.25 million penalty includes a $1.125 million payment to the U.S. Treasury and a $1.125 million payment to the State of Missouri. In addition to the penalty, Teva will complete other actions at the facility valued at approximately $2.5 million. These include the installation of equipment to recover and reuse approximately 59.5 tons of methylene chloride and reduce other emissions by 19 tons over a five-year period. Teva will also conduct an audit to identify past causes of Clean Water Act violations, implement a program to prevent leaks of hazardous air pollutants at the facility, take actions to prevent future violations and implement an Environmental Management System with third party monitoring.
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
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