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Unilever fined $4.5 million for Clean Water Act violations

April 10, 2014
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Consumer products manufacturer Unilever is to pay $4.5 million in fines for violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its former health and beauty products plant in Clinton, Conn.

An official statement from the U.S. Attorney's office announced that Unilever Home and Personal Care USA had been fined $1 million for breaches of the Clean Water Act and will also have to contribute $3.5 million to a number of environmental protection and conservation programs, including $500,000 for the construction of a fishway at the Chapman Mill Pond in Clinton and a further $500,000 to fund water quality or ecosystem restoration projects in the Hammonasset River watershed. Unilever will also have to ensure that all its U.S. manufacturing plants are compliant with environmental regulations.

The case against Unilever concerned illegal discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater into Hayden Creek in December 2008. Investigation of the incident revealed that the company had bypassed part of its wastewater treatment plant in violation of its permit and had discharged "the contents of a 4,500 gallon vacuum filter filtrate tank" into a storm drain pipe that led to the creek.

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Court documents also reveal that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was not notified of the bypass of the wastewater treatment plant at the facility within two hours, as required, and a following federal investigation a contract employee confirmed that the bypass was intentional.

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