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Wausau Company Settles State Environmental Lawsuit for $250,000


ROTHSCHILD – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil environmental enforcement action against Wausau Tile, Inc., for violations of state air pollution and hazardous waste management laws. Wausau Tile owns and operates a specialty concrete manufacturing facility at 9001 Business Highway 51 South in Rothschild, Marathon County, and has agreed to entry of a court order requiring it to pay the State of Wisconsin forfeitures, surcharges, attorney fees and costs totaling $250,000.


The Wausau Tile facility emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during production processes that use VOCs in stains, finishes and color agents that are applied to the molded and set concrete mixtures. The facility also generates hazardous wastes during production and cleaning of equipment used to coat the surfaces of molds and to spray paints on concrete products.


Under Wisconsin law, Wausau Tile is required to obtain and follow construction and operation permits that control the emissions of air contaminants from the facility, and to follow state regulations governing the management of hazardous wastes generated at the facility.


According to the complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Wausau Tile operated in violation of its state air pollution permits and state hazardous waste regulations between 2004 and 2007 by: using materials containing more than its permitted number of pounds of VOCs per gallon, emitting too many pounds of VOCs per day, failing to document compliance with regulations, failing to prepare and follow a malfunction and abatement plan, failing to record usage of VOCs, failing to meet pressure drop limits, failing to keep monthly records of total usage of coatings and solvents, failing to keep monthly records of days of operation, failing to keep monthly records of type and usage of VOC-containing materials, failing to accurately calculate VOC emissions, failing to submit annual compliance certification, failing to keep an accurate emission inventory, operating new sources without a permit, failing to conduct weekly inspections of areas where hazardous waste is stored, failing to properly label and close containers of hazardous waste, lacking a training program, failing to limit accumulation of hazardous waste, and failing to submit reports for out-of-state shipments of hazardous waste.


Marathon County Judge Patrick M. Brady granted the State's motion for summary judgment as to Wausau Tile's liability on all but one of the State's claims in February 2011. The parties then reached an agreement calling for payment of a judgment in the amount of $250,000. Judge Brady signed the order for judgment on April 12, 2011.


"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance with the law," said Van Hollen.


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case for the State.