AG Van Hollen: St. Francis company settles state lawsuit over air pollution violations for $220,000

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ST. FRANCIS – Kitzinger Cooperage Corporation, which owns and operates a drum reclamation facility in St. Francis, has agreed to pay $220,000 to settle state claims under Wisconsin’s air pollution laws. The judgment resolves charges that Kitzinger Cooperage failed to properly control and monitor air emissions at its St. Francis facility between 2004 and 2008.

Under Wisconsin law, Kitzinger Cooperage is required to obtain and follow construction and operation permits that control the emissions of air contaminants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the facility. The complaint charges that Kitzinger Cooperage operated in violation of state air pollution statutes and its permits by using a solvent solution with more than the allowed maximum VOC content, proceeding with a painting and solvent cleaning operation that is a significant source of VOC emissions without a construction permit, exceeding the particulate matter emissions limit, and failing to maintain and submit accurate and timely records.

According to the complaint, Kitzinger Cooperage has since 2008 retained comprehensive environmental consulting services and worked cooperatively with the Department of Natural Resources to resolve the violations.

“Kitzinger Cooperage took prompt and complete steps to ensure future compliance with permit requirements designed to protect the public from harmful air emissions,” said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin’s citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance with the law.”

Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William W. Brash III approved the settlement.