WASHINGTON — Roquette America, Inc., has agreed to pay a $4.1 million civil penalty to settle allegations that it allowed industrial waste from its grain processing facility in Keokuk, Iowa, to be discharged into the Mississippi River.
As early as 2008, Roquette was aware that its wastewater treatment plant was marginally adequate and that it could not handle spills or surges in loading. Instead of constructing additional containment structures for waste water surges, or routing spills to the wastewater treatment plant, Roquette allowed the industrial waste to be discharged directly into the Mississippi River and Soap Creek, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
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“Roquette’s actions resulted in over a thousand permit violations and allowed the discharge of untreated industrial waste into the Mississippi River and another Iowa waterway even after it was informed on numerous occasions it was violating its state permit and federal law,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement holds Roquette accountable for its multiple violations of the nation’s Clean Water Act and requires sewer improvements, wastewater treatment upgrades, enhanced monitoring and independent compliance audits that will benefit public health and the environment for the people of Iowa for years to come.”