EPA announces a settlement with Lehigh Southwest, USA

EPA announces a settlement with Lehigh Southwest, USA
Published: 23 September 2015


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Lehigh Southwest Cement Co for failing to properly report releases of toxic chemicals at its Cupertino, California, USA. The company is required to pay a US$47,600 penalty and spend US$144,250 to fund projects that support local emergency response and limit future releases from the plant.

The EPA said in a statement that under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Lehigh was required to submit to EPA and the State of California an accurate Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting Form R for every toxic chemical manufactured or processed in quantities above the established thresholds. An EPA inspection found that for the years 2009 and 2010, Lehigh manufactured or processed nickel, thallium, lead and mercury compounds at the Cupertino plant in amounts that exceeded the thresholds, yet Lehigh failed to submit or submitted inaccurate Form Rs for those chemicals, the EPA added.

The settlement requires the company to donate emergency response equipment, including 12 hazmat suits, to the Santa Clara County Fire Department within 90 days. The purchase of this equipment will enhance the fire department’s ability to respond to and prepare for chemical release emergencies at the area around the Cupertino facility.

Lehigh has also committed to fully enclose a raw materials conveyor belt to include new covers, sealed inspection ports, and specialised dust/debris collectors within a year of the settlement.