To settle clean air, clean water violations at Mexico facility
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. has agreed to pay a $2.25 million civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the State of Missouri's Air Conservation Law, Clean Water Law, and Hazardous Waste Management Law at the company's facility in Mexico, Mo., the Justice Department, EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday.
A 2007 inspection of the Missouri facility revealed violations of the CAA. The violations included failure to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants from wastewater and failure to comply with regulations designed to prevent leaks of air pollutants from equipment at the facility.
In 2007, an EPA inspection found the Teva facility was discharging pollutants above permitted levels established by the City of Mexico's Pretreatment Program, in violation of the CWA. In some cases, these pollutants were causing interference with the city's ability to treat its domestic sewage, leading to pollutant discharges into the Salt River. A 2008 inspection found that Teva was discharging a green effluent that ultimately discolored a portion of the Salt River in November and December 2008.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the green discharge flowed into the Salt River from a wastewater treatment plant in 2008. Koster's office said it discolored the river for 22 miles, all the way to Mark Twain Lake. The discharge was traced to the Teva facility.
Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for Koster, said there were no known human or wildlife illnesses resulting from the discharge.
In 2009, an inspection by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources uncovered various RCRA violations. These violations included failure to determine if waste was hazardous, illegal storage of hazardous waste, failure to comply with labeling requirements, and offering hazardous waste for transport without a manifest.
"This settlement penalizes Teva for multiple violations of U.S. environmental laws when it allowed excess emissions of hazardous air pollutants from Teva's wastewater treatment facility and excess discharges of pollutants into the City of Mexico, Missouri's wastewater treatment facility," said Ignacia S. Moreno, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The agreement is protective of human health and the environment because it requires Teva to offset its excess emissions, install modern equipment that will increase the recovery and reuse of hazardous pollutants and reduce air emissions, as well as enhance its leak prevention capability."
"With numerous violations over a period of years, Teva's actions resulted in significant environmental damage to the air and water," said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks. "The penalty and injunctive relief required by this agreement send a strong message to Teva and others that businesses must comply with environmental laws."
Teva's $2.25 million penalty includes a $1.125 million payment to the U.S. Treasury and a $1.125 million payment to the State of Missouri.
Teva said in a statement that the issues leading to the penalty "have been addressed and the facility is operating in compliance with all relevant environmental laws. Additionally, the site continues to take proactive steps to reduce its environmental footprint."
The EPA said that in addition to the penalty, Teva must pay more than $2.5 million for anti-pollution upgrades at the plant. The company also will pay the state $150,000 for things such as investigation costs and damage to natural resources, Koster's office said.
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is a division of Teva Industries Ltd., based in Israel. Its website says it employs 46,000 people in 60 countries, including 9,000 in the U.S.
As a result of this Consent Decree, Teva has certified that it is in full compliance with CAA, CWA, RCRA regulations.