HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Honeywell has agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty for releasing chemicals into the James River from its Hopewell manufacturing facility, according to officials with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
The company signed a consent order calling for the fine and additional repairs, which will cost more than $13 million, to prevent future spills. The order lists two dozen issues over the past two years, including a November 2014 spill which resulted in a kill of more than 2,000 fish in Gravelly Run.
READ the consent order: http://shout.lt/bbhGW
The order requires Honeywell to "inspect, repair or replace process sewers at the facility that, due to their deteriorated condition, allowed the release of wastewater into the James River," according to the DEQ. The company must also address defects in sumps, trenches and the facility's sewer system.
The DEQ has issued 14 enforcement orders to Honeywell since 1990. In addition, a joint consent decree by DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was issued to Honeywell in 2013 for air quality violations.
In addition to the proposed enforcement action, DEQ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are coordinating to address natural resource damages caused by past spills.
"The facility has already completed a number of improvements covered by the proposed consent decree and is planning significant additional investments over the next five years to address the remaining items, in cooperation with the Virginia DEQ," said Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe. "The company is committed to health, safety and the environment at all its facilities. The Hopewell facility has made substantial investments in health, safety and the environment over the past five years, including $46 million to upgrade Hopewell's environmental control systems. It plans to spend another $54 million on those systems, which will help reduce NOx [nitrogen dioxide] emissions from the site by 80 percent from 2004 levels. In addition to that investment, the plant has spent $50 million since 2010 on other projects directly related to health, safety and the environment."
The public now has until September 23 to comment on the order, which will be presented to the State Water Control Board on October 1 for finalization. Comments can be sent by mail to the DEQ or emailed to Kathleen.Oconnell@deq.virginia.gov.
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