ENR (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

CHICAGO MANUFACTURER WILL PAY $1.6 MILLION FINE AND CURB TOXIC DISCHARGES INTO CHICAGO SEWERS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Chicago-based chemical and dye manufacturer will pay a $1.6 million penalty and make $1.5 million worth of state-of-the-art wastewater plant improvements to end what the government called repeated dumping of insufficiently treated, toxic chemicals into the Chicago public sewer system. The settlement, filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago, resolves allegations that the 115th Street Corporation had violated the Clean Water Act by discharging benzene, lead, cyanide and other dangerous pollutants in exceedance of legal limits into the Greater Chicago Calumet sewage treatment plant. The 115th Street Corporation processes these chemicals to make pigments for use in the printing, agriculture and food industries. "This agreement demonstrates in a very real way how the Clean Water Act helps to protect communities and nearby waters like Lake Michigan," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This Congress wants to significantly weaken the Clean Water Act. If that happens, the Justice Department's and ordinary American's hands will be tied and settlements like this that prevent pollution will be a thing of the past." "Citizens played a crucial role in this successful effort to reduce pollution in an already heavily polluted area," said Deputy Regional Administrator Michelle Jordan. "They alerted EPA to the violations and were active participants in negotiations with the company." Citizens from the local community, and environmental and public interest groups first sued the company in March 1992 to prevent future discharges. The suit alleged that the company had exceeded legal discharge limits on more than 500 days over a four-year period. The Department of Justice and the EPA intervened on the plaintiffs' side in 1994. The Clean Water Act requires regulation of indirect dischargers of pollutants. The aim is to keep contaminated wastewater from flowing into waters such as Lake Michigan or interfering with the operations of treatment plants. The company will build a state-of-the-art biological wastewater treatment system to curb future pollution. The new

system will use microorganisms to break down the chemical waste before it is discharged into the sewer system. 115th Street Corporation's current sewer pipe system, leaky pipes and all, will probably be replaced. The company has also shut down a color pigment processing operation to reduce further the amounts of benzene and toluene discharges. The settlement requires full compliance with the Clean Water Act by next summer. In addition to the penalty and plant improvements, the company will reimburse the Illinois Public Interest Research Group more than $600,000 in legal expenses. ### 95-575