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April 24, 2008

Osceola Company Pays $50,000 Civil Penalty for Wastewater Violations

Miller Products Company violated wastewater pretreatment requirements.

Osceola. Miller Products Company of Osceola has been ordered to pay a $50,000 civil penalty for violating wastewater pretreatment requirements at the company’s manufacturing plant, Attorney General Tom Miller said Thursday.

“We alleged that Miller Products repeatedly discharged its wastewater into Osceola’s treatment works at levels exceeding its limits for zinc, chromium and pH,” Miller said.

Miller Products Company manufactures nuts, bolts, lock pins and hitch pins for farm and home equipment at its plant located at 1015 North Main St. in Osceola. The process includes milling, grinding, and zinc electroplating followed by chromate plating, and it generates over 5,000 gallons per day of waste rinse water containing zinc and chromium.

“We also alleged that in 2007 the company’s discharge included hexavalent chromium, which is highly toxic to aquatic organisms and can pose serious risk to humans,” Miller said.

The company suspended use of hexavalent chromium, as directed by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, and all pretreatment violations ended in October 2007. Discharges by Miller Products did not cause the City of Osceola to violate its own pollutant discharge limits.

The Attorney General’s Office filed an environmental lawsuit Thursday at Clarke County District Court in Osceola. The suit was simultaneously resolved by a “Consent Order, Judgment and Decree” entered Thursday by Clarke County District Court Judge Sherman W. Phipps. Phipps ordered Miller Products Company to pay the $50,000 civil penalty, prohibited any further pretreatment violations, and prohibited the company from discharging any hexavalent chromium into the Osceola treatment works unless authorized by both the City and the Iowa DNR.

Major industries that have significant impact on local public wastewater disposal systems, such as the City of Osceola’s publicly-owned treatment works, must enter pretreatment agreements with the owners of the disposal systems. Pretreatment agreements, which must be approved by the Iowa DNR, identify pollutants discharged by the industry to the disposal system, and limit monthly average and daily maximum discharges of pollutants into the system.

Go to: lawsuit. Go to Judge's Order.

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