U.S. Water News Online
PHILADELPHIA --Weirton Steel Corporation of Weirton, W. Va. has agreed to pay $3.18 million in civil penalties for causing water, soil, and air pollution in West Virginia.
The agreement, lodged in U.S. District Court in Wheeling, W. Va., also requires that the company complete pollution control renovations costing an estimated $14 million, and perform two environmentally beneficial projects, collectively valued at over $6 million.
Weirton Steel mainly produces rolls of thin steel sheets used to make tin cans, and is the supplier of nearly half the steel used to produce cans in the United States.
EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe hailed the environmental benefits of the settlement. "This settlement is a tribute to common sense solutions to chronic environmental problems at the plant," McCabe said. Rather than slogging this case through the courts for months on end, we saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal feeds for Weirton and taxpayers by sitting down and negotiating a settlement. EPA is very pleased with this settlement, but the real winners are the public and the environment."
According to Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, the steps Weirton Steel is required to take to reduce pollution from its steel-making plant should improve the quality of the community's water and air.
"This settlement is an excellent example of how federal and state authorities can work together to resolve environmental problems in a way that benefits the local community," she said.
Under the settlement, the $3.18 million penalty will be divided equally between the United States and West Virginia.
In addition to the penalty, the settlement agreement includes a legal requirement that the company overhaul its air pollution and water treatment systems, as well as its hazardous waste management procedures. In addition, the company is required to clean up several hazardous waste lagoons on its property.
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