Thursday, September 25, 2014

KCK chemical company ordered to pay $1.5 million fine for mishandling hazardous waste

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A chemical company with a plant in Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday to pay a $1.5 million fine for violating a federal law regulating the storage of hazardous waste, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

The company will serve two years on federal probation.

Harcros Chemicals Inc., 5200 Speaker Road in Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of storing hazardous waste without a permit.

Harcros manufactures industrial chemicals including surfactants, emulsifiers, antifoaming agents and custom organics.

In addition to its manufacturing, the company operated eight laboratories for the development and testing of new chemical products.

In its plea, the company admitted that from at least May 5, 2006, through Jan. 30, 2009, the company stored waste chemicals including phosgene solution, ethylenediamine, 1,4-dioxane, butyl acrylate, acrylic acid and methacrylate at the facility.

The company did not have a permit to store hazardous waste for more than 90 days as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

“EPA’s commitment to protect the environment includes bringing to justice those who, in the course of breaking the law, disregard the harm they pose to public health,” said Michael Burnett, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Kansas. “The defendant’s illegal storage practices threatened groundwater supplies and put employees and the public at serious risk. Today’s plea demonstrates that those who knowingly engage in criminal activity must be willing to face the consequences in court.”

Grissom commended the Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Jennifer A. Whitfield, Senior Trial Attorney, Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resource Division, Environmental Crimes Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tris Hunt for their work on the case.