U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of West Virginia
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – Messer, LLC, an industrial gas manufacturing facility located in New Cumberland, West Virginia, will pay a $1.9 million civil penalty for violations of its Clean Water Act permit and the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act.
The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into waters of the United States, except in compliance with a permit issued by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Messer, LLC’s permit imposed limits for the discharge of specific pollutants, including copper, aluminum, iron, residual chlorine, and phenolics. According to court documents, Messer, LLC exceeded permit limits when it discharged pollutants into the Ohio River on at least 186 occasions since February 2016.
“We all have a right to safe and clean drinking water, and whenever that right is threatened the Justice Department will take action,” said United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld.
In addition to the civil penalty, Messer, LLC must take steps to prevent future violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, including the construction of a new treatment system at its New Cumberland facility, implementation of a response plan in the instance of future violations, mandatory internal inspections, and quarterly reporting requirements to federal and state agencies.
The civil penalty will be equally divided between the U. S. Department of Justice and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maximillian Nogay served as local counsel for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U. S. Department of Justice in this matter.
A Consent Decree was entered by the United States District Court on September 11, 2023. Messer, LLC did not admit any liability to the United States or the State of West Virginia arising out of the transactions or occurrences alleged in the complaint.