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Holcim (US) Agrees to Pay EPA Penalty

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into a Combined Complaint and Consent Agreement (CCCA) with Holcim (US) Inc. (Holcim) in response to alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its limestone and silica quarry and Portland cement plant located in Florence, Colo.

EPA alleges that Holcim had unauthorized ground water discharges at the facility, failed to comply with sampling requirements, failed to comply with inspection requirements, and failed to develop an adequate stormwater management plan for its operations, in violation of its permit and the Clean Water Act. As a result, Holcim has agreed to pay a penalty of $36,500.

“Pollutants from industrial activities are a major water quality issue in our Nation’s waterways,” said Mike Gaydosh, EPA’s Enforcement Director in Denver. “It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure that they have the proper permits in place to conduct business and that they are operating in compliance with those permits.”

Holcim’s facility lies adjacent to the Arkansas River and Bear Creek, which is a tributary to Arkansas River. At the time of the EPA’s inspection on Jan. 21, 2009, the Portland cement plant had been discharging ground water without a permit since 2006 into the Arkansas River and since 2007 into Bear Creek. During the inspection, it was observed that the plant’s storm water management plan did not comply with their permit requirements. Inspectors also found sampling, analysis, and inspections were not being completed or were not completed in compliance with the facility’s storm water permit.

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces. This runoff accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if unchecked and untreated. The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices that prevent and hold runoff. Most stormwater discharges require coverage under a Clean Water Act permit.