April 8, 2014

Unilever paying $4.5M for Clinton pollution

Health and beauty production manufacturer Unilever Home & Personal Care will pay $4.5 million and serve three years probation for violating the Clean Water Act in Clinton for 2008.

The payout includes a $1 million fine and a $3.5 million payment to state and local environmental programs. The company also must institute a new environmental compliance program at its U.S. manufacturing facilities.

The case stemmed from a 2008 complaint where a third-party contract employee noticed that hose was being used to bypass the industrial process wastewater treatment system at the Unilever manufacturing facility.

From subsequent communications with Unilever officials, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency learned this was not the first time this method had been used, polluting the nearby groundwater system, and that operators at the plant could have been doing this for as long as two years.

In December 2012, Unilever ceased manufacturing operations at the Clinton facility. On Dec. 5, Unilever pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly violating, or causing to be violated, the Clean Water Act.

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