U.S. District Court Orders Stabl Inc. to Pay $2.2M Penalty

The U.S. District Court in Omaha, Neb., has ordered Stabl Inc. to pay a $2,285,874 civil penalty for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act at its Lexington, Neb., rendering facility, EPA Region 7 announced today.

The Court supported its penalty findings based on facts presented by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) that Stabl had a long history of serious violations and that Stabl's efforts to comply with environmental regulations were minimal.

According to the judgment, from August 2006 until May 2010, Stabl violated a series of environmental regulations. Sampling data from May 2006 through March 2008 indicates that Stabl violated discharge limits causing the City of Lexington's wastewater treatment plant to violate its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Pollutants discharged by Stabl to the treatment plant include high levels of ammonia, oil and grease, among others.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality issued Stabl a Nebraska Pretreatment Program (NPP) permit in March 2008. The NPP permit established discharge limitations and required Stabl to monitor and report values for various pollutants discharged from the facility. Stabl was in frequent non-compliance with these requirements from the time the permit was issued until the time the facility was sold.

"The actions by Stabl over a multi-year period demonstrate a lack of compliance that had serious consequences for the city of Lexington, Neb., and the fragile Platte River basin," Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. "Protecting the waters of the United States is one of our most important missions, and this judgment sends a clear message that EPA will work closely with our state partners to ensure that chronic violators of the Clean Water Act will be held accountable."

The Court found that Stabl Inc., formerly known as Nebraska By-Products, violated the CWA a total of 1533 times, resulting in an economic benefit of more than $1.1 million. The facility was sold in May 2010, having never achieved compliance with CWA regulations.

Stabl has 60 days from the date of the judgment to appeal the decision. A copy of the Court's decision is available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-ned-8_11-cv-00274/pdf/USCOURTS-ned-8_11-cv-00274-5.pdf

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