McWane Hit With Fine for Pollution, Conspiracy

Feb. 10, 2006
Plant officials at Pacific States submitted false data

Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co., a McWane Inc. division in Provo, UT, has been fined $3 million for pollution violations leveled against McWane and two former plant officials last November. They were charged with conspiring to violate the federal Clean Air Act and for falsifying documents.

The foundry produces water and sewer pipes, fire hydrants, and fittings. It operates a cupola furnace which must clear a "compliance stack test" every three years to measure the amount of pollutant PM10 emitted through a stack, according to Clean Air Act requirements. The regulations stipulate that the test be performed under "conditions representative of normal operations," to ensure that test results accurately represent the pollutants being emitted at the plant on a daily basis.

Charles Matlock, now retired and a vice president and general manager of Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe, pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of submitting a document to the state of Utah containing falsified emission test results.

Matlock also pleaded guilty to one count of rendering inaccurate a testing method required by the Clean Air Act. He will be sentenced May 2.

Charges were dismissed against Charles Robison, v.p. of environmental affairs, in exchange for his agreement not to appeal his conviction in a separate case involving McWane.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, McWane Inc., Matlock, and Robison conspired to melt pig iron instead of shredded scrap in order to lower the amount of emissions from the cupola and pass a September 2000 compliance stack test. In 2001 and 2002, McWane submitted false emission nventory documents based on the inaccurate September 2000 compliance stack test.

In a statement, McWane said Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe "remains one of the cleanest and safest iron foundry facilities in the nation. Although Pacific States was prepared to defend the test method at trial, it decided after extensive negotiations that the best interests of its business and the community would be served by an expedient settlement of this lingering matter." The company emphasized that no harm was done to employees, the community, or the environment in this case.