Bacardi to Protect Sensitive Land and Pay Fine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Bacardi Corporation have reached an agreement that spells out the resolution of Clean Water Act violations at Bacardi's rum manufacturing facility in Cataño, Puerto Rico.

Under the agreement, a consent decree approved by the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico, Bacardi has paid a $550,000 penalty and will donate and preserve land valued at $1 million.

"The violations in this case were serious, and EPA is pleased to see Bacardi's willingness to address them and to take steps to prevent future violations," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg in a Nov. 3 press release.

EPA alleged in its complaint that from March 2002 to July 2008, Bacardi failed to comply with certain pollutant limits in its permit and, in some instances, failed to report monitoring results for discharges into the Atlantic Ocean. EPA cited Bacardi for failure to meet pollutant limits for cadmium, lead, copper, oil and grease, selenium, zinc, and two types of organic compounds.

In addition to the penalty, Bacardi will donate a two-acre parcel of land in the Cienega Las Cucharillas watershed, which was appraised for $1 million and abuts the San Juan Estuary, to Universidad Metropolitana, a private university in Cupey. The land comprises wetlands and upland areas and is bordered by tidal black mangroves, trees that are vital to preserving Puerto Rico's unique ecosystem. The land transfer is considered a supplemental environmental project under the agreement.

Additionally, Bacardi will be given two years to address stringent bacteria limits and will be required to meet interim limits for bacteria during that period. Bacardi also agreed to undertake enhanced monitoring of its discharges should it have operational problems at its treatment facilities in the future.

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