Harcros Chemicals Inc., of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty today to violating a federal clean air law in connection with a toxic chlorine gas cloud that formed over Atchison, Kansas, in 2016, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
According to the company’s plea agreement, Harcros is expected to pay a $1 million fine. The co-defendant in the case, MGP Ingredients Inc., of Atchison pleaded guilty in November in the same case. That company also is expected to pay a $1 million fine.
Harcros pleaded guilty to negligently violating the federal Clean Air Act. 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 Harcros Chemicals sought medical attention.
“The chemicals involved in this case posed serious public health and environmental dangers,” said Assistant Director Justin Oesterreich of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas. “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put an entire community at risk.”
Harcros is set for sentencing May 27. The plea agreement recommends no probation.
More information about the case is at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ks/us-v-mgp-ingredients-inc-et-al.
McAllister commended the Environmental Protection Agency and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Hathaway for their work on the case.
“A Rose for Every Garden” will be presented from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Wyandotte County Extension Office, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kansas.
The program will be presented by Laura Dickinson, a consulting rosarian with the American Rose Society. It is sponsored by the Wyandotte County Master Gardeners.
Anyone can grow beautiful roses, according to the program’s organizers, and all it takes is understanding the plant’s needs and picking the right variety for your garden.
The class will review basic rose care, rose varieties and how new hybrids are developed, as well as how to select the best roses for your gardening needs.
Registration is not required for the program. There will be a fee of $5. The fee will be waived for currently certified Extension Master Gardeners. For more information, call 913-299-9300.