Enforcement

CF Industries, Inc. Settlement

(Washington, DC - August 06, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Dept. today announced that CF Industries, Inc. has agreed to spend approximately $12 million to reduce and properly manage hazardous wastes generated at its Plant City, Fla. phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer manufacturing facility. The settlement resolves CF Industries' Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations and requires the company to pay a civil penalty of more than $700,000 and provide $163.5 million in financial assurances to guarantee appropriate closure and long-term care of the closed facility. This is the first case concluded under EPA's National Enforcement Initiative for Mining and Mineral Processing.

On this page:

Overview of Company and Facility Locations

CFI, a subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. in Deerfield, Ill., is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products for agricultural and industrial use in North America.

  • The facility covered by this settlement is located in Plant City, Fla.

Top of Page

Violations

As a result of the inspection, EPA identified the following violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):

  • Failure to make hazardous waste determinations for scrubber effluents and cleaning wastes (40 C.F.R. § 262.11);
  • Treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes without a permit or interim status (42 U.S.C. § 6925(a) and 40 C.F.R. Part 264, Subparts A-G, K, and CC);
  • Failure to perform land disposal determinations and to meet land disposal restrictions for hazardous wastes (40 C.F.R. Part 268);
  • Failure to develop cost estimates and to provide financial assurance for closure, long-term care, and third-party liability for the phosphogypsum stack system (40 C.F.R. Part 264 Subpart H); and
  • Failure to comply with recordkeeping requirements (40 C.F.R. § 262.40).

Top of Page

Injunctive Relief

  • CFI has eliminated the release of hazardous wastewaters from fertilizer production through a novel reconfiguration of current operations. CFI's three fertilizer production trains produce ammoniated fertilizers. The three secondary scrubbers on these production trains will no longer pump corrosive wastewater back to the Phosphogypsum Stack System as CFI has reconfigured these scrubbers to use phosphoric acid as the scrubbing media. Since the effluent acid is recycled back into the process, there is no media-shifting.
  • CFI will capture all ammonia prior to release to the environment. Ammonia will now be captured in the closed loop recirculation of phosphoric acid in the secondary scrubbers.
  • CFI will build an elementary neutralization unit to treat all hazardous wastes from fertilizer operations.
  • CFI will implement a Best Management Plan to address leaks and spills of phosphoric acid from phosphoric acid plant operations and a Sulfuric Acid Waste Management Plan to address leaks and spills of sulfuric acid from its nearby sulfuric acid plant.
  • Assessment of current contamination is complete. All necessary remedial actions have been taken.
  • CFI has agreed to comprehensive financial assurance provisions to guarantee $163.5 million for closure and long-term care, minimizing financial risk to the U.S. and to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Top of Page

Pollutant Reductions in tons per year (tpy)

  • 4.9 million tpy of hazardous waste reductions (for heavy metals and corrosivity)
  • 4,500 tpy net reduction of ammonia effluent to the phosphogypsum stack system
  • 5.8 million pounds of hazardous wastes treated. CFI will design and operate an elementary neutralization unit to treat wastes generated from cleaning pipes and tanks in the phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer processes.
  • 4,922 cubic yards of contaminated soil removed. The decree requires CFI to remove contaminated soil from outside the sulfuric acid plant.

Top of page

Health and Environmental Effects

  • Reduced risk of release of billions of gallons of hazardous wastewaters
  • Release of acidic wastewaters contaminate groundwater and can cause fish kills in local rivers and lakes. In a national enforcement effort, EPA has focused on compliance in the phosphoric acid industry because of the high risk of releases of acidic wastewaters at these facilities. Examples of effects include:
    • Difficulties managing the bankrupt Mulberry Phosphates Piney Point facility (Polk County, Fla.) since 2001 has caused the State of Florida to incur nearly $200 million for cleanup and forced the disposal of 534 million gallons of partially-treated hazardous wastewaters into the Gulf of Mexico.
    • A 2004 release of 65 million gallons of hazardous wastewaters from the Mosaic Riverview Facility into Tampa Bay resulted in a massive fish kill.
    • A 2007 release at the Agrifos phosphoric acid facility in Houston caused 50 million gallons of hazardous wastewaters to be released into the Houston Ship Channel.
    • A 2009 sinkhole at the PCS White Springs phosphoric acid facility in north Florida released over 90 million gallons of hazardous wastewaters into the Floridian aquifer, the drinking water source for Florida and south Georgia.

Top of page

Civil Penalty

CFI shall pay a $701,500 penalty split evenly between the United States and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Top of page

State Partner

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Top of page

Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

Top of page

For more information, contact:

Kathryn Pirrotta Caballero
U.S. EPA
Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20460
(202) 564-1849
Kathryn Caballero (caballero.kathryn@epa.gov)

Top of page