DELHI, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) A settlement has been made in Delaware County requiring a dairy facility to improve their operations after violating the Clean Air Act.
FrieslandCampina is required to pay a $2.8 million penalty after violating numerous state and federal environmental laws. New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the settlement on Thursday. It was discovered that the manufacturing facility, located in Delhi, has been emitting dangerous air and water pollution into the surrounding communities, putting the public’s health at serious risk. The order was reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the state of New York and requires Friesland to comply with environmental protection laws. The state will receive $1.44 million from the company in order to fund public health projects and the Delhi area environment.
“Every New Yorker has a fundamental right to clean air and water, and companies have a fundamental obligation to protect public health and the environment wherever they operate,” said Attorney General James.
Friesland is a major emitter of toluene, a toxic air polluting chemical listed as hazardous under the federal Clean Air Act. Friesland violated both the Act and state laws by failing to accurately report these emissions, failing to obtain proper air permits, and failing to install necessary technologies to limit the release of toluene. Toluene emission contributes to the formation of smog and is harmful to the environment and public health. Long term exposure to the chemical can damage the nervous system and harm kidney, liver, and immune functions.
Friesland also violated the federal Clean Water Act by threatening local drinking water supplies and local aquatic environments by emitting high levels of pollutants. On multiple occasions, the facility discharged cooling water at temperatures that exceeded the states limits and introduced untreated pollutants into the Village of Delhi’s wastewater treatment plant, interfering with treatment. All of these discharges were released into the West Branch of the Delaware River, a world-class wild trout fishery and part of the New York City water supply system.
Due to the state and federal government’s enforcement, Friesland has completed $6 million of work in order to comply with laws. This includes installing equipment to reduce toluene emissions by 95% and upgrading the treatment of its wastewater process.
FrieslandCampina is the world’s largest dairy cooperative and one of the top five dairy companies in the world, bringing in a revenue of over $12 billion annually.