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Archive for Friday, October 22, 2010

EPA issues civil complaint and compliance order against MagnaGro

The MagnaGro production plant at 600 E. 22nd St. was declared “unfit for human occupancy" on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. City officials condemned the building and said operations won't be allowed to resume at the facility.

The MagnaGro production plant at 600 E. 22nd St. was declared “unfit for human occupancy" on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. City officials condemned the building and said operations won't be allowed to resume at the facility.

October 22, 2010

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MagnaGro continues to draw the ire of governmental agencies.

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a civil complaint and compliance order against the agriculture fertilizer company for failing to tell the federal agency what hazardous wastes are on site.

The order comes after the city of Lawrence this summer declared the business at 600 E. 22nd St. “unfit for human occupancy” and boarded the doors.

In April, two men suffocated when they were overcome by fumes from a material being mixed at the site. Following that deadly incident, the EPA conducted compliance inspections of the facility and found a number of suspected solid and hazardous wastes.

On July 28, the EPA notified MagnaGro of the violations and requested more information from owner Ray Sawyer. Sawyer has not responded to that request or subsequent ones, EPA spokesman Chris Whitely said.

“We have to have an exact determination of what is at the site, what wastes are there and in what quantities,” Whitely said. “This is one more action to compel him to do that.”

Within 30 days, the EPA order requires Sawyer to provide an inventory of all drums, totes and other containers at the facility and to determine whether the wastes are hazardous. It also requires Sawyer to submit a plan for disposing of the hazardous wastes immediately.

Sawyer, who was out of town on Friday, said he was not aware of the EPA order. Since the city shut down the business in July, Sawyer said it is illegal for him to enter the building to comply with the EPA’s request for more information.

Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard agreed that Sawyer can’t enter the building. But, she noted the city is reviewing a plan Sawyer submitted to vacate the building. As part of that process, the city will consider allowing Sawyer to go into the building to gather the information the EPA has requested.

Sawyer said that the materials on site are not dangerous, but under the EPA’s guidelines any abandoned material is considered hazardous.

This isn’t the first time that Sawyer has come under fire from the EPA. In 2009, Sawyer pleaded guilty in federal court to discharging waste from a fertilizer operation into the city’s sewer system. According to court records, Sawyer was sentenced to five years of probation for the misdemeanor offense. He and the company were required to pay a $240,000 fine related to charges, which stemmed from a 2001 incident.

In the current case, no fines have been issued.

Comments

strateup 4 years, 2 months ago

In the meantime a possible bio-hazard is still festering in Lawrence. Who will be liable if there are any other casualties?

devobrun 4 years, 2 months ago

Top-notch police work, that all there is to it. Efficient, effective, and precise, that's our EPA. Offenders are running for cover. Prompt. Lightening speed.

Makes me feel safe at night. Thanks federal government, you do good work.

Now we can see this guy in jail.....in about 10 more years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

The EPA is as precisely as ineffective as Republicans (and presumably you) want it to be.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

How did the City of Lawrence get away with allowing the operation to function without proper utilities and proper disposal methods for so many years?

What types of regulations does the City of Lawrence have to monitor and insure EPA regulations are in fact being met? City inspections ever?

Are all of our polluting industries meeting EPA specifications? Who is and who is not? What type of annual inspections take place? What kinds of "clean up" insurance are required?

Farmland Industries got away and left tax payers holding the bag.

Do the local plastic industries pollute?

Flap Doodle 4 years, 2 months ago

Internal combustion lawnmowers are some of the most polluting devices in the country. They should be banned immediately.

BruceWayne 4 years, 2 months ago

our elected leaders are 100% to blame for letting this go on like they did. time the toilet at city hall gets flushed.

tunahelper 4 years, 2 months ago

it should be against Mangino not MagnaGro!

HaRDNoK9 4 years, 2 months ago

"Following that deadly incident, the EPA conducted compliance inspections of the facility and found a number of suspected solid and hazardous wastes. "

“We have to have an exact determination of what is at the site, what wastes are there and in what quantities,” Whitely said. “This is one more action to compel him to do that.”

If the EPA has already conducted compliance inspections and found a number of suspected solid wastes, then why do they need Sawyer to help them determine what is there? Smells like a bunch of fertilizer to me.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 2 months ago

"overcome by fumes from a material being mixed"

It was molasses. Pure, simple, unadulterated molasses.

Jeanette Kekahbah 4 years, 2 months ago

Boston that molasses killed the son of a good friend which killed a large part of my good friend's heart. No safety warning signs no safety training. and Sawyer STILL thinks rules don't apply to him. Karma surely has something real special for Sawyer. And karma can't be bribed, either.

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