Chemical Marketing Reporter, July 15, 1991

EPA asks millions in fines of Alcoa, Mobay, Colloids

Aluminum Company of America has been fined $7.5 million after pleading guilty to four violations of New York State Environmental Conservation Laws at Massena, N.Y., where the company operates an aluminum smelting and fabricating plant. The plant was charged with storing, shipping and disposing hazardous waste and endangering the environment. All the charges are misdemeanors.

In other recent developments, Environmental Protection Agency issued separate administrative complaints last Thursday against two chemical companies for allegedly violating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is seeking over $2 million from Allied Colloids Inc., Suffolk, Va., and over $4.75 million from Mobay Corporation, the Pittsburgh, Pa., subsidiary of Bayer AG, Germany.

EPA alleges that Allied Colloids imported, manufactured and sold seven new chemicals in the US since 1983. The agency says the company failed to submit premanufacturing notices or to apply for required polymer exemptions.

EPA filed over 400 counts against Mobay. The agency accused the firm of importing chemicals not on the TSCA inventory, falsely certifying that imports complied with TSCA, filing incomplete premanufacturing notices, providing false information concerning dates certain chemicals were first imported, improperly reporting substances to the TSCA inventory during the initial reporting period, and submitting inaccurate or unsupported information in required reports.

Mobay last week said it believes it has complied with the TSCA and is in the process of preparing a response, which will focus on how EPA defines these manufacturing process descriptions.

The company emphasizes that the claims involve practices that took place between 1977 and 1986 and that there are no claims concerning today's practices. It also says the complaint is based on an EPA investigation performed with Mobay's cooperation.

EPA has reviewed over 15,300 chemicals since TSCA was enacted. The agency targeted several hundred chemicals for regulations, but most of these were withdrawn by their manufacturers. EPA says penalties against the two companies were based on the apparent nature, circumstances and extent of the alleged violations.