News & Insights

Holcim Reaches Settlement Over Alleged Illegal Leachate Discharges

On April 28, 2021, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed consent decree with the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in the lawsuit entitled United States and State of New York v. Holcim (US) Inc., CV No. 1:21-cv-490.  The United States and the State of New York filed the action for injunctive relief and civil penalties pursuant to Sections 309(b) and (d) of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), 33 U.S.C. §1319(b) and (d), and Article 17 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”) against Holcim (US) Inc., for illegal discharges of leachate pollutants. 

Holcim is accused of discharging significant amounts of untreated and partially treated contaminated water and stormwater into Coeymans Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River.  The discharged water exceeded pollution control permits for aluminum, toxicity, oil and grease.  Between April 2015 and March 2019, Holcim was cited for over 260 exceedances.

The settlement, set forth in a consent decree, requires Holcim to comply with the terms of the Permit and pay an $850,000 civil penalty, $212,000 of which will go to the State of New York to fund a “green” stormwater infrastructure project at Coeymans Landing Park on the Hudson River shoreline.  Holcim will also be required to implement updated water pollution best management practices, submit a revised solid waste management facility permit to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and conduct a third-party audit of its water pollution and solid waste compliance at the facility.

Some residents have expressed their displeasure with the settlement, stating prior consent decrees did not act as effective deterrents.  The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final Court approval.