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PA COMPANY AND EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY TO CAUSTIC SODA SPILL
Release Date: 04/18/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 1997
COMPANY AND EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY TO CAUSTIC SODA SPILL
Andre Rober of Leawood, Kan.; Marc W. Peterson of Kansas City, Mo.; and HCI Chemtech Distribution Inc., of Chesterfield, Mo., all pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., on April 10, to single violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) which arose when they failed to properly respond to a spill of several thousand gallons of highly caustic sodium hydroxide into the Missouri River from Chemtech's Kansas City plant in September 1995. Sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, is a strong alkali that can kill living tissue on contact. HCI pleaded guilty to one felony CWA count and agreed to pay a fine of $175,000, pay $21,200 in restitution, and implement a corporate compliance and monitoring program. Peterson and Rober each pleaded to one misdemeanor CWA count. Peterson and Rober could receive a maximum of one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 per day of violation. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
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