U.S. Attorney’s Office, EPA and State of New York Announce Settlement with Holcim (US) Inc. to Address Environmental Violations at Cement Manufacturing Facility
ALBANY, NY (4/29/2021) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of New York today announced a settlement with Holcim (US) Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act and New York State water quality regulations at its cement manufacturing facility in Ravena, New York, announced Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon.
The settlement, set forth in a consent decree lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, requires Holcim to comply with the terms of its State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (Permit), pay an $850,000 civil penalty ($212,000 of which will be directed to a NYS Environmental Benefit Project improving stormwater management at Coeymans Landing Park in the Town of Coeymans, New York), and make other physical and operational improvements to the Facility.
The settlement resolves violations alleged in the complaint of the United States and the State of New York, which was filed yesterday. The complaint alleges that, between April 2015 and April 2021, the facility violated the Permit’s numeric effluent limitations 273 times for pollutants such as biological oxygen demand, fecal coliform, total suspended solids, settleable solids, pH, and temperature differential and three prior administrative consent orders issued from 2011 to 2015. The administrative orders document over 150 Permit numeric effluent limitation violations for similar pollutants as well as unauthorized discharges of an unreported sulfuric acid spill, and discharges of partially treated landfill leachate to tributaries of the Hudson River, such as Coeyman’s Creek and Hannacroix Creek. During the course of negotiations over the terms of the Consent Decree, Holcim made substantial improvements to its stormwater and leachate management practices to address the violations at issue, which resulted in the demolition and removal of two failing slurry basins, and installing an impermeable geomembrane-backed French drain along a portion of the perimeter of its landfill. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, Holcim will undertake additional measures to ensure that the Facility is fully compliant with the terms of its Permit by October of 2022.
“We are all custodians of our community’s precious environmental resources. This settlement will benefit the Hudson River, and help preserve this treasured resource for future generations,” said Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon.
“This settlement helps protect clean water and ecosystems in the Hudson Valley for local communities and it has already improved Holcim’s compliance with critical federal and state environmental laws,” said EPA acting Region Administrator Walter Mugdan. “This case exemplifies EPA’s commitment to work with our federal and state partners to ensure entities like Holcim comply with regulations that protect public health and the environment.”
“For years, Holcim failed to live up to its legal responsibilities, repeatedly violating laws established to ensure the health of our waters,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “Today, we hold this company accountable for polluting our natural resources and we ensure that proper measures are taken to remediate the harm caused to our communities. My office will continue to aggressively enforce the laws that protect the health and safety of our environment and of all New Yorkers.”
“New York State has a long history of holding polluters accountable for their impacts both on our communities and the environment and I thank the U.S. Attorney and the Attorney General for their efforts to finalize this agreement that does just that,” Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The Consent Decree announced today will help to resolve years of violations and exceedances under federal and state rules and regulations and requires a significant penalty of $850,000. And in addition to requiring actions to further clean up its operations, this agreement requires this facility to invest in an Environmental Benefit Project that will help improve the health of the Hudson River – a victory for the town of Coeymans.”
This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hoggan for the United States and Assistant Attorney General Joseph Kowalczyk for the State of New York.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. To view a copy of the consent decree and for information on how to submit a comment, visit www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.