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U. S. SUGAR PAYS FINE

 U. S. SUGAR PAYS FINE
 WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- U. S. Sugar


Corporation today was fined $3.75 million for eight violations of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which regulates the transportation and disposal of hazardous wastes. President Nelson Fairbanks, who represented U. S. Sugar in federal district court said, no harm has been found to the environment as a result of the violations which took place at the company's Bryant Sugar Mill in Palm Beach County.
 Judge James Paine imposed the fine, the largest ever under the law. The company entered a guilty plea in December following several months of discussions with the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami. The fine was recommended in the plea agreement.
 Fairbanks told the court, "I am more humiliated than I can say that our company committed violations like these." He added, "Our policy was, and is, complete compliance with the law and beyond that to act in an environmentally responsible fashion. Breaking the law for any reason is a flat out violation of corporate policy."
 Outside the courthouse, Fairbanks announced that the company's environmental vice president will inform the media of future purchases of RCRA regulated materials at its mills and agricultural equipment shops. Noting that many purchases are already public record, he said the environmental vice president will make the records accessible. "If we had let the media look over our shoulders five years ago," Fairbanks said, "the slip-ups and oversights that led to today's sentence might have been caught and fixed earlier."
 Fairbanks also said that the company began a crash testing program in December "to make double and triple sure" the violations produced no harm to the environment. The testing program is being carried out by Blasland, Bouke & Lee, a national environmental engineering firm. The firm was instructed to look wherever it was most likely to find environmental harm and has found none. "I've told them to keep looking," Fairbanks said, adding that test results will be turned over to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
 Last week the company announced that it has begun an environmental restructuring to create internal safeguards against future environmental violations. It is close to hiring the environmental vice president, a new senior level post. A search firm has been engaged to fill a new position of environmental audit manager. Teams have been formed to deal with environmental emergencies, environmental compliance officers have been appointed in each department, employees have begun to receive more extensive environmental training and an environmental hot line has been opened to enable employees to make anonymous reports of violations.
 "We are determined to become a standard of environmental responsibility," said Fairbanks.
 Following is a fact sheet regarding U. S. Sugar's plea.
 U. S. Sugar has headquarters in Clewiston, Fla. It grows sugar, vegetables and citrus.
 U. S. SUGAR ENVIRONMENTAL CASE FACT SHEET
 Here are some facts to put the items in the plea in perspective.
 I. Hazardous Wastes:
 (a) According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
 Hazardous Waste Engineering Research Laboratory Standard
 Handbook of Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal, .35
 percent to .40 percent of the residential waste that is
 discarded to landfills qualifies as household hazardous
 waste.
 (b) Each day, households in Palm Beach County send over 20,000
 pounds of hazardous waste to the Palm Beach County
 landfills.
 (c) Examples of household hazardous waste include:
 1. oven cleaners;
 2. finger nail polish;
 3. wood polish;
 4. lawn and garden chemicals;
 5. wine bottles (the lead wrappers);
 6. paints;
 7. adhesives; and
 8. spot remover.
 (d) the Palm Beach County landfills legally and routinely
 received hazardous waste from small quantity industrial
 generators.
 II. Lead and Landfills:
 (a) Only one item in the plea involves sending hazardous
 waste to a landfill (Lead subacetate mixed with mud and
 cane juice in filter papers).
 -- The Company's mill laboratories used lead subacetate in
 the process of filtering mud and other impurities out of
 cane juice and other process samples for purposes of
 testing the sucrose content of samples.
 (b) Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority has reported that
 regularly conducted county testing at the landfills to
 which the Bryant laboratory sent its waste reveals that no
 lead is being released into the environment.
 (c) Certain key provisions of the law governing the disposal
 of hazardous waste changed in 1986.
 1. Before September 1986, a generator could legally send up
 to 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month to a landfill
 that does not have a permit to receive hazardous waste,
 without any reporting requirements.
 2. After September 1986, the legal limit dropped to 220
 pounds a month.
 3. The law requires adding the weight of mud, filter paper
 and cane juice to the weight of the lead in determining the
 total quantity of hazardous waste disposed of. (With 220
 pounds a month being the legal limit for disposing without a
 permit.)
 (d) The Company's Bryant laboratory sent a yearly average of about
 300 pounds of lead to the landfills, less than a pound of lead
 a day (or less than two pounds per day during the five month
 harvest season).
 1. The following illustrates how small a quantity of lead
 was disposed in the landfills by the company. Florida has a
 legal standard for the maximum lead content in compost that
 may be applied annually to land. It is 44.5 pounds per acre.
 The company's shipments to the Palm Beach County landfill came
 to less than four pounds of lead per acre of landfill.
 Therefore, the Company was depositing in the landfill less
 than ten percent of the lead that could have been contained
 in compost applied to a lawn in Palm Beach.
 2. Expressed another way, the state of Florida recognizes
 that even if 10 times the quantity of lead deposited in the
 landfill was deposited every year, the material in the
 landfill would be harmless enough, from the standpoint of lead
 contamination, to apply to a lawn in Palm Beach as compost.


III. Solvents: Two solvents were involved in the plea. Brulin and Darcy (chemically equivalent) and Zep Dyna Sol.
 (a) BRULIN AND DARCY: Spent Brulin and Darcy were first regulated
 under RCRA in January 1986.
 1. These solvents are nearly identical blends of several
 substances.
 2. Fifty percent to 70 percent of the solvent consists of
 mineral spirits. The balance is composed of methylene
 chloride (commonly found in paint stripper) and tetrachloro-
 ethylene (principally used by dry cleaning establishments,
 as a spot remover, and as a degreaser for a variety of
 industrial applications).
 3. The methylene chloride component evaporates very rapidly.
 4. The other components also evaporate quickly.
 5. Both Brulin and Darcy were used principally in the summer-
 time, when temperatures in the mills were in the 90 degree
 range, further increasing the evaporation rate.
 6. Most of the Brulin and Darcy used at U.S. Sugar was
 applied with a compressed air spray gun, again enhancing
 evaporation.
 7. Most of the solvent evaporated during use. This
 evaporation does not constitute disposal.
 8. Tests conducted by Blasland, Bouke & Lee, a national
 environmental engineering firm, have found that more than
 90 percent of the solvents evaporated during use -- only
 small amounts remained for improper disposal.
 9. The material that was disposed of consisted primarily of
 oil and grease that dripped from the dirty equipment.
 (b) ZEP (MINERAL SPIRITS)
 1. Zep is 80 percent or more mineral spirits. Mineral
 spirits (a refined petroleum product) is commonly found in
 the household as well as commercial products, such as paint
 thinner.
 2. In its pure commercial form, Zep is ignitable at less than
 140 degrees Fahrenheit, however; as a result of use,
 especially under conditions promoting evaporation, the
 temperature at which the material will ignite will increase
 thus diminishing the ignitability characteristic. Spent Zep
 Dyna Sol is only considered hazardous if it is ignitable at
 under 140 degrees Fahrenheit, unlike other wastes that may be
 hazardous because they are toxic, corrosive or reactive.
 3. The classification of spent Zep as a hazardous waste
 established handling and disposal standards. These standards
 also serve to warn workers who might be handling it that they
 should exercise precautions appropriate to an ignitable
 substance. For example, they shouldn't smoke or put it near
 an open flame, unless they intend it to burn.
 4. The spent Zep used by the company was mixed with used
 motor oil (which is not highly flammable and the mixture was
 disposed of by burning for energy recovery, an appropriate
 disposal method. Once burned, the Zep is gone.
 -0- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Robert Buker or Sylvia Walters of U. S. Sugar Corporation, 813-983-8121/ CO: U. S. Sugar Corporation ST: Florida IN: SU:


AW-JJ-SS -- FL013 -- 6286 02/03/92 15:21 EST
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Date:Feb 3, 1992
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