2020 Environmental Real Estate IssuesOn July 9, 2020, EPA issued a news release announcing settlement with “major fertilizer producer” J.R. Simplot Company and its subsidiary, Simplot Phosphates (Simplot).  The settlement resolves EPA’s allegations that Simplot violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to properly identify and manage certain waste streams as hazardous wastes at Simplot’s facility in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Large Amount of Waste Improperly Managed
According to the news release, the facility generates large quantities of acidic wastewater and phosphogypsum, which have historically been stored in a large pile that can hold billions of gallons of acidic wastewater.  As part of the settlement, Simplot will spend an estimated $20 million to recover and reuse the phosphate from these materials.  Simplot will also secure $126 million in long-term financing to ensure funds are available for closure and long-term care of the facility.

Civil Penalty for RCRA and EPCRA Violations
Simplot will pay a civil penalty of $775,000 to resolve the RCRA allegations and allegations that Simplot violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by failing to report certain quantities of toxic chemicals in accordance with EPCRA standards.

The news release states EPA has reached settlements regarding 12 other phosphate fertilizer facilities to bring them into RCRA compliance.

To see the news release, which includes links to the proposed Consent Decree and other documents https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/proposed-settlement-united-states-and-major-fertilizer-producer-will-reduce-acidic