Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
mmerz@atg.state.il.us

March 28, 2006

MADIGAN ALLEGES HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS AT METRO-EAST INDUSTRY

WASTE HAULER ALSO NAMED FOR DISPOSAL VIOLATIONS

Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan today said that a Metro-East manufacturer committed a series of alleged violations in handling and storing hazardous wastes in connection with the production of zinc metal and other products at its plant.

Madigan also named a local waste hauler, Midwest Waste, for allegedly transporting hazardous waste from the facility to an area landfill that is not licensed to accept hazardous materials.

Madigan’s complaint, filed with the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB), alleges hazardous waste and permit violations at Big River Zinc Corporation (BRZ), 2401 Mississippi Avenue, in Sauget.

In May 2005, an inspection by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) revealed that a 30-cubic yard roll-off waste container, not labeled as hazardous waste, was filled with waste filter press cloths. The cloths are made and used to separate sludge from an acid solution. When the filters become clogged, they are removed and replaced. They are considered hazardous because they are contaminated with arsenic, cadmium and lead. Arsenic is a poison, carcinogen and irritant, cadmium is an irritant and can cause kidney and liver damage while lead is highly toxic to the nervous system. The company allegedly did not have a permit to store these hazardous materials.

According to Madigan’s complaint, IEPA’s inspection also revealed alleged violations with BRZ’s hazardous waste contingency plan. The plan allegedly identifies an Emergency Coordinator who was unaware of the designation and not thoroughly familiar with the facility’s contingency plan.

Madigan’s complaint also alleges BRZ failed to perform equipment inspections and allowed releases of used oil from two 500-gallon tanks on the premises and left large amounts of sludge on the pavement where vehicles were cleaned. The complaint maintains BRZ had not conducted a hazardous waste determination or cleaned up the sludge or the oil-soaked material used to soak up spilled oil. In addition, inspectors found a leaking oil drum that was allegedly mixing with the sludge.

“Employees were exposed to potential health hazards from the toxic substances allowed to leak at this site,” Madigan said. “This company needs to take its obligations under the environmental laws much more seriously.”

Madigan’s complaint seeks a hearing before the IPCB on the five specific counts brought against BRZ and a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation, and an additional $10,000 for each day the violations continued.

A sixth count in the complaint names Allied Waste Transportation, Inc., d/b/a Midwest Waste for transporting a container filled with wood waste from a demolition at the plant. Tests of the waste in the container showed elevated levels of cadmium. Allied allegedly took the container to the St. Louis Transfer Station where it mixed with regular waste and was sent to the Roxana Landfill. Madigan’s complaint alleges that a waste manifest did not accompany the material from the demolition of an old tank at BRZ and that the Roxana facility is not licensed to accept hazardous waste. Madigan’s complaint asks that the IPCB assess the maximum civil penalty against Midwest Waste and BRZ on this count.

The case was referred to Madigan’s office by the IEPA and is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Laughridge Gale of Madigan’s Environmental Protection Division.

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