News Release 105

Usona Metal Finishings and Powder Coating referred to attorney general for enforcement action for hazardous waste violations

Volume 38-105 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 8, 2010-- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources referred the case against a metal finisher and powder coating company with locations in St. Louis and Cuba to the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue civil penalties for violations of Missouri's Hazardous Waste Management Law.

The department referred the case of Usona Metal Finishing to the attorney general alleging the company failed to register as a hazardous waste generator with the department and improperly handled and disposed of hazardous waste.

A former employee of Usona Metal Finishing's Cuba facility alleged to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency he was asked to dump waste into the sewer. The former employee also stated there were approximately 50 drums of potentially hazardous waste improperly stored on the facility's property.

In 2008, a federal search warrant was issued to investigate criminal hazardous waste and Clean Water Act violations. The department's Environmental Services Program sampled waste storage drums at the facility and the results showed 32 drums contained hazardous waste.

The department subsequently inspected Usona Metal Finishing and Usona Powder Coating in St. Louis. Inspectors noted hazardous waste was being improperly stored and disposed of at the St. Louis metal finishing facility. Properly managed hazardous waste is less likely to threaten human health and the environment. Under department supervision, Usona cleaned up and properly disposed of the hazardous waste at all of its locations and has paid the state for costs associated with sampling the hazardous waste.

The company's owner, Paul Fredericks, was sentenced last year in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to six months of home confinement, followed by 30 months of additional probation, on federal charges involving the illegal storage of hazardous waste. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $9,362 to the department.

Due to the serious nature of these violations, the department referred this matter directly to the attorney general to seek an appropriate civil penalty for the violations. The Missouri Constitution requires civil penalties to be paid to the school fund of the county in which the violation occurred.

Missouri's Hazardous Waste Management Law exists to protect public and environmental health and the department is responsible for enforcing the law and regulations.

The department's enforcement actions help protect human health and the environment by requiring facilities to maintain compliance. The main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with the standards and then ensure it has the tools to remain in compliance.  As part of that process, penalties may be used ensure future compliance by removing the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

The department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before an issue is referred to the Attorney General's Office for legal action.

For more information, contact the department's Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-3176 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.