The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that Essroc Cement Corp. has agreed to pay an $82,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of toxic chemical reporting requirements at its manufacturing Nazareth, Pa. facility. According to EPA, Essroc failed to submit three years of required reports on a regulated toxic chemical (lead) that was processed at this facility.
EPA cited the company for violating the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). This law requires companies that manufacture, use or process more than a threshold amount of listed toxic chemicals to file an annual toxic chemical release form with EPA and the state. These reports are used to compile the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)—a publicly available EPA database, searchable by zip code that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities.
The multi-establishment Nazareth, Pa., plant processes lead as part of the manufacturing process for bulk and packaged cement. Lead and lead compounds are regulated under EPCRA due to the public health effects of ingestion or inhalation of lead. According to EPA, a June 2011 inspection revealed that Essroc did not submit annual reports for lead for three years (2006–2008), when the Nazareth facility processed lead in amounts in excess of 130,000 lb. annually—significantly exceeding EPCRA’s 100-lb. reporting threshold. The EPA emphasizes that this settlement involves alleged reporting violations, not unlawful releases of toxic chemicals.
The settlement penalty reflects the company's cooperation with EPA in resolving the alleged violations, and its compliance efforts. As part of the settlement, the company did not admit liability for the alleged violations, but has certified compliance with applicable EPCRA requirements. In a separate matter, the United States recently announced a $1.7 million settlement of alleged Clean Air Act violations at six Essroc facilities nationwide, including the Nazareth plant.