U.S. Water News Online
LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Alcoa Inc. will pay $550,000 to settle a
federal lawsuit alleging the aluminum maker's aerospace products
plant violated water pollution limits.
Under the agreement, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa admits no wrongdoing
and avoids a trial over the 1999 complaint filed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
``We are pleased to have this matter resolved,'' said Jim
Bollenbacher, vice president of environment, health and safety for
Alcoa Engineered Products.
The EPA alleged that wastewater discharged from the Lafayette
plant contaminated nearby Elliott Ditch.
The releases violated regulatory limits on polychlorinated
biphenyls and other pollutants released into Elliott Ditch, the EPA
PCBs were once used as insulation and a coolant. They have been
banned because of links to cancer in laboratory animals.
In addition to paying $550,000, Alcoa is required to:
Make a study of Elliott Ditch and Wea Creek to determine the
sources of PCBs in the waterways and their effects on sediments and
The agreement's total cost to Alcoa has not yet been determined.
The plant already is operating within the water-use limit,
processing 200,000 gallons of water a day, Alcoa spokeswoman Lisa
The plant reduced its water use 86 percent in the past two years,
Alcoa paid a $17,600 civil penalty to the Indiana Department of
Environmental Management after a 1998 discharge of hydraulic fluid
killed more than 4,000 fish in Elliott Ditch.
But Alcoa officials say the company has taken several steps to
address environmental issues at Lafayette, including the adoption of
a zero-discharge goal five years ago.
Also, Alcoa is working on a stormwater drainage system that would
no longer drain into Elliott Ditch.
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