The federal government has been pumping thousands of tons of toxic chemicals into waterways across the country in an effort to control climate change.
Now, the company that made the piping that has caused so much havoc in the last couple of decades is being forced to take on more of the responsibility.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it has ordered DuPont to pay $1.7 billion to clean up its own wastewater treatment plant and to replace pipes that spilled into the Chesapeake Bay.
The money is for the cleanup of the Baykeeper Bay project, which includes dredging a portion of the Potomac River and another part of the Columbia River, as well as pumping a million gallons of water from the nearby Dredge floating pipeline into the bay.
The river is the most heavily polluted in the United States, and it’s been estimated that about a third of the waste water coming out of the plant is polluted with chemicals, including PCBs.
The EPA also has ordered the company to pay a $600 million fine for polluting the water at the Cheshire wastewater treatment plants in Virginia and Maryland, which had been using DuPont’s water treatment equipment for more than 20 years.
DuPont’s $1 billion fine for its toxic waste treatment plants is the largest ever for a pollution-control violation by the EPA.
It’s not the only one.
The company is also facing another $1 trillion fine from the government for polluters in the coal industry, including for leaking toxic waste into waterways and for pollution of the Cheshires water.
The EPA also ordered the firm to pay about $1,400 per day for every mile of the pipeline that leaked pollution into the river.
But the company’s actions over the last decade, and the EPA’s enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act, have led to a toxic environment for the public.
The pollution that DuPont has pumped into waterways has resulted in a variety of illnesses and deaths, and pollution from the pipeline has contaminated the Cheshes watershed.
In addition, the federal government says that the pollution caused by the wastewater treatment system has led to the loss of 1,000 acres of wetlands, as opposed to the 150 acres the company claims it lost when it built the pipelines.
The cleanup of this wastewater system will help clean up pollution from a number of sources, including DuPont itself.
According to EPA records, DuPont used a mixture of industrial waste and chemical chemicals to create the piping.
But DuPont also had a toxic relationship with the government.
The company was required to pay billions of dollars in Clean Water Acts fines over the years, but that wasn’t the only cost.
In 2007, the EPA fined DuPont $2.8 million for its role in an operation that allowed wastewater to flow through the company-owned plant in Maryland.
The spill occurred when a large pipe ruptured.
A year later, the agency levied $2 billion in Clean Air Act fines for a spill that spilled waste into the Gulf of Mexico.
The wastewater spill has since been linked to the deaths of three people in the U.S. and the pollution of rivers in the Chesnuts watershed.