HPI Products Inc. and Owner to Pay $150,000 in Environmental Penalties

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.

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 also has 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 to reimburse the state 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. 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.

In separate but related criminal cases prosecuted last year in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.:

· Garvey pleaded guilty on Jan. 27, 2009, to violating the Clean Water Act. On Sept. 1, 2009, he was sentenced to 6 months of confinement and 6 months in home detention, and ordered to pay a $100,000 criminal fine.
· HPI Products entered a corporate guilty plea on Jan. 27, 2009, to violating the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. On March 24, the corporation was ordered to pay a $300,000 criminal fine.
· On Aug. 31, 2009, HPI Products’ vice president, Hans Nielsen, pleaded guilty to violating sections of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). On Jan. 22, Nielsen was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to pay a $4,000 criminal fine.

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.

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