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Victoria, Inc. Agrees to Pay Penalties For Failure to Properly Respond to Spill

 

MENOMONEE FALLS - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil case it has brought against Victoria, Inc., a Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, asphalt coating business which operates under the name "SealMaster Milwaukee."

 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute Victoria for its violations of various environmental laws associated with the April 17, 2007, spill of material from a 250-gallon container of an asphalt coating material known as "Ajack Black" that was accidentally punctured by a forklift that evening while Victoria employees were unloading it from a truck.  The complaint filed in the case alleges that Victoria attempted a clean-up but failed to recover all the material known to have spilled that evening, and that the remainder of the spill flowed around or under a spill containment structure at the lower end of the SealMaster parking lot, from which point it flowed into a drainage ditch and into Lilly Creek and the Menomonee River.

 

The DNR learned of the spill the following day from the Menomonee Falls Fire Department which had responded to a call from a concerned citizen that the waters of Lilly Creek had turned black.  The DNR immediately contracted with an environmental clean-up firm to recover as much of the remaining Ajack Black as possible before it entered the waterways or flowed further downstream.  Victoria has reimbursed the DNR more than $15,000 for the cost of that emergency clean-up response. 

According to the complaint, Victoria violated state environmental laws by, among other things:

 

  • Failing to properly implement its storm water pollution prevention plan which requires it to ensure that its spill containment wall is in proper working order, with drain valves closed, any holes mended, etc.;
  • Failing to adequately control and clean up all spilled materials; and
  • Failing to promptly notify the DNR of the spill.  

 

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, approved by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Donald J. Hassin, Jr., Victoria has agreed to pay penalties and fees totaling $5,000.00 on the condition that it take all necessary steps to eliminate the ability of storm water runoff to flow under or otherwise circumvent the storm water containment system at the facility, a factor which may have contributed to the discharge of spilled materials into Lilly Creek in this case. 

 

"Allowing contaminated runoff like this to enter our state's waterways can damage them," Van Hollen said.  To Victoria's credit, he said, it reimbursed the DNR for the costs of the emergency clean-up response and it has committed to take those steps necessary to prevent a recurrence of any spilled materials entering nearby streams.  Van Hollen added that "the Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that such laws are followed." 

 

Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Dosch represented the state.