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Orange County Focus

SANTA ANA : Company to Pay Fine for Making Chemical

April 03, 1992|MARLA CONE

A manufacturing company has agreed to pay a $147,900 fine for producing a new chemical without the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials said Wednesday.

BP Chemicals Inc., also known as Hitco, manufactured and sold large amounts of the chemical for at least one year, but stopped production after realizing it had failed to notify federal officials, according to the EPA. Manufacture of the substance has since resumed at the plant, located on Dyer Road, after EPA officials reviewed it and determined it was not toxic.

The chemical, which was not identified by the EPA because of laws protecting trade secrets, is used in making weapons systems for the defense industry. The company produced 116 batches of the substance before notifying the EPA in 1990.

Under federal law, any company planning to produce or distribute a new chemical must notify the EPA at least 90 days in advance so the agency can review scientific data. The EPA has the authority to ban a new substance if it poses a serious environmental risk.

"The penalty was fairly close to the maximum," said EPA spokesman Bill Glenn. "They were making it and selling it for some time before reporting it."

In addition to paying the fine, BP Chemicals Inc. has agreed to audit six of its other facilities in the West, at a cost exceeding $100,000, to determine if there were similar violations over the past five years. If so, the firm would face additional penalties.

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