Wis. settlement yields $65K

Bryan Cohen Jun. 29, 2011, 1:47pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Wednesday that his office has settled a civil environmental prosecution with a Lincoln County, Wis.-based manufacturer.

Northern Wire LLC allegedly discharged excessive amounts of the pollutants chromium and zinc into the sewer system of Merrill, Wis. Northern Wire operates a wire forming facility where it engages in manufacturing processes that include zinc electroplating with chromium passivation. The company allegedly violated a state law that limits the amount of these and other pollutants an industry can discharge into municipal sewage treatment systems.

The complaint resulted from a request by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that alleged that on numerous days, primarily in the spring and summer months of 2009, continuing sporadically into 2010 and on one occasion in February, Northern Wire's wastewater contained excessive amounts of chromium and/or zinc, which are pollutants that can exhibit toxic characteristics.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Northern Wire will pay a total of $65,000 in penalties, surcharges and attorney fees to the state.

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that the law is followed," Van Hollen said.

The company has since brought the facility back into compliance with the state's water pollution control laws.

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