DuPont settles Delaware River pollution claims

DuPont chief executive Ellen Kullman has met with President Obama, urging less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes to make it more attractive for her company to site more factories and jobs in this country.
DuPont chief executive Ellen Kullman has met with President Obama, urging less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes to make it more attractive for her company to site more factories and jobs in this country. (JONATHAN ALCORN / Bloomberg)
Posted: November 11, 2011

DuPont Co. agreed Thursday to pay $500,000 to settle state and federal accusations the company polluted the Delaware River with toxic industrial chemicals "numerous" times in the last six years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Delaware's environmental agency, and state and federal prosecutors joined in a consent decree to curb illegal chemical discharges at DuPont's Edge Moor works next to Fox Point State Park just north of Wilmington, which processes titanium dioxide, used in auto paints, printing, and other industries.

DuPont let hydrogen chloride, titanium tetrachloride, iron chloride, titanium ore, and overflow wastewater treatment chemicals into the Delaware, the government said. The company violated permit limits on discharging suspended solids, acids, iron, foam, contaminated storm water, and other pollution.

The fine and settlement comes as DuPont, which earned $3 billion in profits last year, is weighing whether to expand the Edge Moor plant or rival works in the southern United States and in Asia. Chief executive Ellen Kullman has met with President Obama, urging less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes to make it more attractive for her company to site more factories and jobs in this country. The company also says it is committed to clean water and to obeying the law.

The government says DuPont Edge Moor illegally discharged pollutants into the Delaware for the last six years, violating the state and federal Clean Water Acts. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control hit DuPont with a violation for dumping more than its permit allowed in 2008 for "numerous effluent discharges" and other violations, leading to Thursday's settlement, the agencies said in a statement.

Besides the fine, DuPont has agreed to set up a plan by 2013 to reduce wastewater violations subject to EPA and state approval, and submit to EPA review of its storm-water pollution records.

In a statement, DuPont spokesman Rick Straitman said DuPont had "self-reported" the data that led to the government accusations, and added that the company has spent $14 million upgrading the plant to improve discharge, and will spend more.


Contact staff writer Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194, JoeD@phillynews.com, or @PhillyJoeD on Twitter.

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