Companies settle alleged violations at Hercules
Three companies have agreed to pay more than
$1 million in penalties to settle alleged environmental violations
at the Hercules Franklin Plant in Courtland, Virginia.
The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency
have reached a settlement with Hercules Inc. and GEO Specialty
Chemicals, Inc., who have agreed to pay a $700,000 penalty for
alleged violations of several federal environmental laws. In
an earlier January 2011 settlement, Eastman Specialty Chemicals,
Inc., which owned and operated a portion of the facility, agreed
to pay a $365,500 penalty for alleged violations related to its
operations at the plant.
The Franklin Plant, which is adjacent to the banks of Nottoway
River, manufactured chemicals for the paper and printing industry.
In the 1990s, Hercules, the original owner of the plant, sold
parts of the facility to Eastman and GEO. Eastman and GEO also
manufactured chemicals at the facility. GEO sold its operations
and Eastman closed a significant portion of its operations at
the plant in 2009.
Along with the settlement papers, the United States filed a complaint
against Eastman in the spring and a joint complaint against Hercules
and GEO alleging environmental violations related to their individual
operations at the Franklin plant. Violations include: deficient
oil spill prevention and control plans; deficient facility plans
to respond to emergency spills; inadequate oil spill response
drills and exercises; unlawful oil discharges into the Nottoway
River; inadequate oil storage tank “secondary containment;” failure
to make required hazardous waste determinations; inadequate plant
lighting; failure to report the storage of lead acid batteries;
and unpermitted operation of the sodium hydroxide rail car storage
The Justice Department will file both settlements in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which
has jurisdiction over Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond