Company agrees to pay $1 million fine for violating Clean Air Act

An Atchison, Kansas, company has pleaded guilty to violating the federal Clean Air Act and is expected to pay a $1 million fine, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

MGP Products, Inc. pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of negligently violating the Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. attorney.

In its plea, the company admitted that on Oct. 21, 2016, a greenish-yellow chlorine gas cloud formed when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite. The Atchison County Department of Emergency Management ordered community members to shelter in place and to evacuate in some areas. Approximately 140 individuals including members of the public, first responders, employees of MGP Ingredients and Harcos Chemicals sought medical attention.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 24. The company could be sentenced to a term of probation up to five years.

McAllister commended the Environmental Protection Agency and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Hathaway for their work on the case.

Victims can get more information on US v. Midwest Grain Products, Inc., by visiting https://www.justice.gov/usao-ks/victim-witness and filling out a victim questionnaire, leaving a message on a designated phone line at 913-551-6543 or emailing questions to usaks.victim.witness@usdoj.gov .

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