The U.S. division of Unilever has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after pleading guilty to violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
The agreement relates to an incident dating back to December 2008, when wastewater was discharged illegally at Unilever's facility at Clinton, Conn. The incident was reported to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, but this did not happen in a timely manner, as Unilever is required to do in its permit.
During the investigation of the incident the EPA found that there may have been previous discharges of partially treated wastewater from the facility's wastewater treatment plant but the management was not aware of such occurrences. The Clinton plant was closed in 2012, when production was moved to more advanced and modern facilities.
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As part of the agreement with the EPA, Unilever admits violating the Clean Water Act and agrees to pay a $1 million fine, the company said. In addition, Unilever will donate $3.5 million to the Connecticut Statewide Supplemental Environmental Program as a demonstration of the company's commitment to sustainability, the company said in a statement.
Unilever will make sure that independent environmental inspections take place at its U.S. facilities at least once every three years, with detailed reports from these inspections submitted to the government. Also under the terms of the agreement, all Unilever staff will receive environmental compliance training.