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Ingredion agrees to $8m settlement over violations at corn wet mill

Company to pay civil penalty of $1.1 million and implement measures at a cost of nearly $7 million.

November 22, 2023

2 Min Read

Plant-based ingredient maker Ingredion Incorporated has agreed to a settlement with the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, to settle claims that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) at its corn wet milling facility in Indianapolis. Ingredion will pay a civil penalty of $1,139,600 and implement measures at a cost of nearly $7 million to reduce and offset unpermitted emissions of particulate matter (PM) and to comply with lower future PM limits.

A complaint filed with the consent decree states that Ingredion violated CAA permit limits on PM emissions, including inhalable PMs with a diameter of 10 microns or less, and volatile organic compounds. The complaint also states that Ingredion did not operate and monitor certain equipment as required to minimize air emissions.

The settlement will not just bring Ingredion back into compliance with the Clean Air Act, it will also hold the company to more stringent air pollution standards going forward, said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “This settlement will result in cleaner air for the residents of Indianapolis, particularly those who live in the overburdened community near the Ingredion facility.”

PM is composed of microscopic solids or liquid droplets. According to the Justic Department, it can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems including coughing, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

The settlement requires Ingredion to install and operate new equipment to meet PM limits that are lower than the plant’s current permitted limits. The company completed installation and testing of the new system in advance of the filing. The settlement also requires Ingredion to implement a modernized compliance management system to address repeated operation and monitoring failures at the facility, and hire an independent auditor to verify the effectiveness of the system.

Under the settlement, Ingredion committed to mitigating the harm associated with past excess PM emissions by paving onsite unpaved and partially paved roads and parking areas to reduce PM emissions generated by vehicle traffic, which Ingredion completed in advance of the filing. The company will also replace aging railway locomotives at the facility with two modern locomotives that meet emissions standards.

As a state supplemental environmental project, the settlement requires Ingredion to contribute $560,400 to the State of Indiana to support Brownfields redevelopment in and around Marion County, Indiana.

The EPA and IDEM are investigating the case.

Attorneys from ENRD’s Environmental Enforcement Section and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office are handling the case.

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