Chemetco Inc., a Delaware corporation that owns a secondary copper smelter near Hartford, Ill., was sentenced Oct. 30 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to pay a fine of $3,865,100.
The company must also pay $400,000 in restitution to Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development Authority.
Chemetco previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the Clean Water Act, one count of making false statements to EPA and one count of making false statements to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The charges against Chemetco arose from the installation of a secret, illegal discharge pipe at Chemetco''s smelter near Hartford.
The pipe was used over 10 years, from 1986 to 1996, to discharge pollutants such as zinc, lead and cadmium into Long Lake, a tributary of the Mississippi River.
In sufficient quantities, lead, zinc and cadmium can be harmful to fish and aquatic life and can make water undrinkable.
The discharge of these pollutants was done without a permit under the Clean Water Act.
by Virginia Sutcliffe