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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that his office has obtained a judgment against United Liquid Waste Recycling Incorporated (ULWR) requiring it to pay $40,000 in forfeitures, court costs, surcharges, and attorney fees for violations of its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit and state water pollution laws at its Town of Clyman facility where it stores and processes liquid industrial and municipal waste.
According to the complaint, on December 3, 2010, ULWR was land applying waste through a hose that extended from waste storage tanks at the facility. The hose broke, causing waste material to be released into a nearby grassy waterway. ULWR notified the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of the discharge on December 7, 2010. On July 31, 2011, a storage tank at the facility ruptured, releasing at least 1,000 gallons of stored industrial waste. The waste flowed through a creek and into a wetland. The DNR investigated the discharge on August 11, 2011, after receiving an anonymous letter.
ULWR failed to take the actions necessary to restore the environment and to minimize the harmful effects of the December 3, 2010, and July 31, 2011, discharges immediately after the discharges occurred, in violation of state law. The July 31, 2011, discharge was not authorized by ULWR’s WPDES permit. Furthermore, ULWR failed to report the December 3, 2010, discharge to the DNR orally within 24 hours as required by ULWR’s WPDES permit. Also, it failed to report the July 31, 2011, discharge to the DNR orally within 24 hours and in writing within five days as required by ULWR’s WPDES permit.
Unauthorized discharges to surface water may cause short and long-term changes to the water. In the short-term, these discharges can lead to fish and invertebrate mortality and an acute drop in dissolved oxygen. Long-term impacts may include habitat alteration and degraded water quality. Timely reporting of unauthorized discharges allows DNR staff to respond and coordinate with the facility to contain the spill and to determine all environmental and public health impacts. Delayed notification (or no notification at all) prevents DNR staff from being part of the decision-making process regarding restoration of the environment.
ULWR promptly restored the environment after DNR investigated the storage tank rupture on August 11, 2011. Following the December 3, 2010, and July 31, 2011, discharges, ULWR made substantial changes to its facility and systems in order to reduce the risk of future unauthorized discharges and ensure timely reporting of discharges to the DNR.
Assistant Attorney General Bradley J. Motl represented the State. The settlement was approved by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Peter C. Anderson.
Copies of the Civil Complaint, Stipulation and Order for Judgment, and Judgment are available here.