Ingredion to pay $8M to settle claims of Clean Air Act violations at Indianapolis plant

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An Illinois-based food ingredient manufacturer has agreed to an $8 million settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over claims that it violated the Clean Air Act at its corn wet milling facility in Indianapolis.

Ingredion Inc. makes sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials found in a variety of everyday products. Its Indianapolis facility at 1515 S. Drover St. produces feed, gluten meal, germ meal and heavy steepwater.

The company will pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million and implement measures to reduce and offset emissions at a cost of nearly $7 million, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Ingredion violated Clean Air Act permit limits on particulate matter emissions and failed to operate and monitor certain equipment to minimize air emissions.

In 2015, two employees from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility on the city’s southwest side. They found that emissions from a gluten drier exceeded the EPA’s limit.

Further tests found that Ingredion failed to take corrective action to limit emissions at its Indianapolis facility.

The settlement requires Ingredion to install and operate new equipment to meet particulate matter limits that are lower than the plant’s current permitted limits. It also requires Ingredion to implement a modernized compliance management system to address repeated operation and monitoring failures at the facility, and hire an independent auditor to verify the effectiveness of the system.

Under the settlement, Ingredion agreed to mitigate harm associated with past emissions by paving roads and parking areas at its facility to reduce emissions generated by vehicle traffic. The company also agreed to replace aging railway locomotives at the facility with two modern locomotives that meet emissions standards.

“IDEM is happy to be a part of this resolution that ensures responsible operations in compliance with the Clean Air Act,” IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess said in the news release. “Good air quality is a shared resource that requires partnership between government entities, the public and industry. This settlement will benefit residents in Marion County and Hoosiers across Indiana.”

Ingredion, which reported $6.8 billion in revenue in 2021, has about 12,000 employees in 44 locations around the world.

Becca Hary, director of corporate communications at Ingredion, said “being a good neighbor and operating safely in the Indianapolis community” is the company’s top priority.

“We have a longstanding commitment to maintaining a safe workplace, and we take that commitment to our employees and neighbors seriously,” Hary said in a statement to Indianapolis Business Journal. “We have continuously incorporated sustainable practices throughout our operations. We remain committed to operating with integrity and maintaining the highest ethical standards wherever we do business.”

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