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Agrifos Fertilizer Company Settlement

(Washington, DC - December 07, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Agrifos, a former phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizer producer, has agreed to pay a $1.8 million dollar penalty and conduct an environmental project to resolve alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Air Act. Violations include processing and disposing of hazardous wastewater without a permit and the improper routing of effluent from a scrubber through a cooling tower. The settlement will protect public health and the environment by reducing possible releases of hazardous wastewater into area waterways. Agrifos currently produces sulfuric acid and ammonium sulfate fertilizers.

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Overview of Company

Agrifos is a privately owned producer of phosphate fertilizers located in Pasadena, Texas on the Houston Ship Channel. The company has historically handled about two million tons of raw materials and finished products each year, producing about:

  • 700 thousand tons of sulfuric acid
  • 300 thousand tons of phosphoric acid
  • 625 thousand tons of granular fertilizer
  • 100 thousand tons of green superphosphoric acid
  • 60 thousand tons of ammonium thiosulfate

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The consent agreement includes the following alleged violations:

  • Disposal of Hazardous Waste without a RCRA Permit or Interim Status (Section 3005(a) and (e) of RCRA and 40 C.F.R. § 270.1(b))
  • Failure to Meet Land Disposal Restrictions Standards (40 C.F.R. §§ 268.40 and 268.48)
  • Failure to Make a Hazardous Waste Determination (40 C.F.R. § 262.11)
  • Processing (Treating) Hazardous Waste without a RCRA Permit or Interim Status (Section 3005(a) and (e) of RCRA and 40 C.F.R. § 270.1(b))
  • Improper Storage of Used Oil (40 C.F.R. § 279.22(c))
  • Improper Routing of Effluent from Scrubber through Cooling Tower (40 C.F.R. § 63.603)
  • Failure to Certify Compliance with the Requirements of 40 C.F.R. § 63.603(e)

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Civil Penalty

Agrifos will pay a $1.8 million penalty to resolve the claims raised by EPA.

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Supplemental Environmental Project

Agrifos will spend $600,000 to implement a supplemental environmental project that involves installing a concrete stormwater collection and containment wall around the fertilizer production unit.  The containment structure will contain all spills and leaks from the process unit, as well as contaminated stormwater runoff, which will be reused in the production process.  The containment structure is designed to contain up to a twelve inch twenty-four hour rainfall event.  Agrifos currently treats and disposes of the contaminated contact stormwater from the fertilizer production unit through its wastewater treatment plant in accordance with its Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) industrial wastewater discharge permit. It is estimated that, based on average annual rainfall totals at the facility, approximately 1,026,713 gallons of contaminated contact stormwater will be collected and reused rather than be discharged.  The project is an independent capital project not tied to any regulatory requirement and does not constitute a Best Management Practice under Agrifos’ TPDES permit.

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Previous settlements related to the Agrifos Site include the following:

  • September 2008 CERCLA 106/RCRA 7003 Order with ExxonMobil and Agrifos addressing the release of contaminated wastewater from the gypsum stacks at the Agrifos Site into the Houston Ship Channel.
  • September 2010 ExxonMobil consent agreement and final order that requires ExxonMobil to conduct extensive closure and cleanup work on the phosphogypsum stacks system at the Agrifos facility.
  • November 2010 Air Products Consent Decree with chemical facility adjacent to Agrifos related to exchange of contaminated waste acid from Air Products to Agrifos. Air Products purchased an acid product from Agrifos and returned a spent acid stream to Agrifos that Agrifos incorporated into its operations. 

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For more information, contact:

Pete Raack
Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4075
Pete Raack(

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