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EPA: Cottage Grove chemical plant to pay $480,500 fine for air pollution violations
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EPA: Cottage Grove chemical plant to pay $480,500 fine for air pollution violations

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A Wisconsin chemical company has agreed to pay a $480,500 fine for violating federal air pollution regulations at a plant in Cottage Grove.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Hydrite Chemical Co. exceeded its permit limits for hazardous air pollutants at the facility, which processes spent solvents.

The agency alleges in a complaint that Hydrite failed to monitor and replace carbon filters and to keep tanks closed and failed to account for “fugitive emissions” from equipment leaks as required by its permit for the plant at 114 N. Main St. The lapses resulted in Hydrite exceeding its annual limit of 25 tons of hazardous pollutants, including volatile organic compounds.

The violations were discovered during inspections in 2017 and 2019.

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The EPA announced Thursday that it has agreed to settle the case if Hydrite conducts a leak detection audit, implements new training procedures and complies with its permit. Hydrite must also pay $480,500 in civil penalties.

Hydrite general counsel Thadd Stankowski said the company “worked closely with the EPA to resolve the situation,” provided additional training and monitoring and upgraded its equipment to “exceed regulatory requirements.”

“We take pride in the responsible handling of the chemicals we provide, and in ensuring the safety of our employees, our community and the environment,” Stankowski said.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a judge. The consent decree can be viewed on the Department of Justice website. DOJ has not yet scheduled a comment period.

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