HPI Products Inc., of St. Joseph, Mo., along with an affiliated property holding corporation and the owner of both companies, have agreed to pay a total of $150,000 in civil penalties, in addition to covering undetermined cleanup costs at six of their chemical processing and manufacturing facilities, to settle a series of alleged violations of state and federal environmental laws.
HPI Products, a chemical and pesticide manufacturing company, and St. Joseph Properties, LLC, which owns most of HPI’s production and storage facilities, have agreed to pay $62,500 to the United States, and $62,500 to the State of Missouri to settle the civil claims, according to a consent decree lodged November 15 in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.
William Garvey, who owns HPI Products and St. Joseph Properties, has agreed to pay $12,500 to the United States and $12,500 to the State of Missouri, according to the settlement. Garvey has also agreed to sell his collection of 12 automobiles and three boats and pay the proceeds of those sales to the United States and the State of Missouri.
Additionally, HPI Products will pay $5,980.30 to reimburse the State of Missouri for past costs incurred in responding to and overseeing previous chemical cleanup activities at the company’s facilities, and another $17,540 to the state for future oversight costs.
Together, the defendants have agreed through the settlement to cover the costs of a forthcoming environmental investigation and subsequent cleanup of HPI Products’ contaminated facilities. Those facilities include HPI Products’ main production plant at 222 Sylvanie, a processing facility at 317 W. Florence Road, and warehouses at 1301 S. 11th Street, 1421 S. 11th Street, 1300 S. 8th Street, 424 S. 8th Street, 313 S. 3rd Street, and 417 S. 4th Street, all in St. Joseph, Mo.
Because each step of the forthcoming environmental investigation is dependent on the findings from the previous step, total cleanup costs cannot presently be estimated. However, EPA has estimated that costs for the investigation alone could exceed $500,000.
HPI Products has a long history of enforcement actions taken by EPA Region 7 and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). In 2005 and twice in 2006, MDNR representatives inspected the company’s main production plant at 222 Sylvanie and found multiple hazardous waste violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In 2007, EPA and MDNR representatives inspected the Sylvanie facility and other HPI facilities in the area and noted additional RCRA violations. Additional inspections and file reviews noted pollutant discharge violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), and chemical reporting violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
On December 23, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Missouri filed a civil complaint against HPI Products in federal court in Kansas City, Mo., alleging a series of violations of CWA, RCRA and EPCRA, and applicable state law equivalents. Today’s consent decree settles those claims.
In separate but related criminal cases prosecuted last year in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.:
In his 2009 guilty plea, Garvey admitted that for nearly 20 years he instructed his employees at various HPI Products locations to wash wastes, spills and equipment rinses down floor drains which were connected to St. Joseph’s sewer system. Garvey did not authorize sufficient expenditures for the proper disposal of HPI Products’ wastes until 2006.
In HPI Products’ 2009 guilty plea, the company admitted illegally storing numerous 55-gallon drums of hazardous waste, including chlordane, selenium and heptachlor, at its facilities without a permit.
The November 15 consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the federal court.