Clean Air Agreement To Cost ADM More Than $1.3 Million

EPA Region 5 announced on Oct. 4 it reached an agreement with Archer Daniels Midland Co. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's grain processing plant in Decatur, Ill. It includes two environmental projects totaling $1,020,000 and a $325,000 penalty.

The agreement resolves EPA allegations that ADM violated federal hazardous air pollutant regulations for pharmaceutical manufacturing at its vitamin E production facility by failing to do equipment testing, monitoring and reporting. EPA said ADM also violated rules to protect stratospheric ozone by, among other things, failing to track leaks of chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant from chillers at the facility. EPA discovered some of the alleged violations during an inspection of the plant last December, and ADM disclosed other potential violations after the inspection.

For its first environmental project, ADM must install 58 seal-less pumps and 15 seal-less agitators at the Decatur vitamin E manufacturing facility at a cost of at least $1,005,000. ADM must also spend at least $15,000 on an enhanced leak detection and repair project at the facility. The two projects are designed to reduce fugitive emissions of hazardous air pollutants from the facility. Fugitive emissions are releases not caught by an air pollution control system.

Exposure to hazardous air pollutants may cause serious health effects, including birth defects and cancer. They may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects.

When CFC refrigerants deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, dangerous amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays from the sun strike the earth. Production of some of these chemicals was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

Information on EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at .

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.