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July 14, 2010

Company Settles Federal-State Environmental Case

(DES MOINES, Iowa) An Alabama-based company with facilities in 14 states, including Iowa, has agreed to pay a $4 million federal civil penalty for more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws.  McWane, Incorporated, which is headquartered in Birmingham Alabama, owns Clow Valve Company and Mitrisin Disposal Site, both in Oskaloosa.

“This is a significant settlement for a large number of serious violations of environmental laws,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed the lawsuit and proposed settlement Wednesday in federal court in Birmingham, Alabama.  Alabama and Iowa are co-plaintiffs in the case.  The federal government and two states will divide the civil penalty.  Iowa’s share of the national settlement is $92,803.  The Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Bureau collaborated on this settlement on behalf of the State of Iowa.

As a result of its manufacturing processes, McWane emits pollutants, such as particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and mercury at various facilities.  The settlement resolves civil violations during the past decade of the Clean Air Act the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, as alleged by the United States, Alabama and Iowa in the complaint.

The settlement requires McWane to develop and implement a corporate-wide environmental compliance system, achieve pollution prevention and enhance overall environmental performance.  McWane has also agreed to commit more than $9 million to environmental projects.

According to audits in 2001 and 2004, the Clowe Valve facility violated air quality requirements for failing to obtain required air quality construction permits for emission sources.  Those permits were issued in December, 2006 to resolve the air violations.  The audit also identified the failure to comply with various federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements.  There are no current enforcement issues for the two Iowa facilities.

McWane manufactures cast iron pipes, valves, fittings, fire hydrants, propane and compressed air tanks and other similar products.  The Clow Valve Company operates brass and iron foundries and a machine shop in Oskaloosa.  The company produces industrial waterworks products such as valves and hydrants.

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