Alsco Fined $819K in Wastewater Settlement
While not admitting to any wrongdoing, Alsco Inc., Salt Lake City, recently agreed to a civil settlement of charges filed by Oregon officials on allegations related to wastewater-testing procedures at the company’s Portland plant, according to a news release from state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
As part of a “stipulated plea deal,” Alsco will pay $819,059 in restitution and fines, the release said. State officials allege that from April 1, 2004, to Sept. 25, 2014, employees at the Portland plant manipulated water-quality procedures and data on days when regulators tested their wastewater discharge. On nontesting days, state officials alleged that Alsco would discharge dirtier water and use less water than what was reflected in their tests. By manipulating procedures and data on testing days, Alsco was able to significantly reduce its water usage and costs, the release said.
Two top managers at the plant previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to this conduct. Both were fired by Alsco, which denounced their actions. “Two employees intentionally used procedures only on days on which tests were conducted that were intended to make the test results nonrepresentative,” a company statement said. “Alsco strongly condemns the conduct of the two employees, both of whom have been terminated.”
In addition to the fines, which were parceled out to several state agencies involved in environmental conservation, Alsco has expanded environmental training for its employees nationwide. This effort includes the placement of additional internal controls at the Portland plant and the installation of a Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) system.
Alsco co-presidents Robert and Kevin Steiner stated that “Alsco is a family company. For 125 years of operations, in what are now 165 facilities in 13 countries, Alsco has worked hard to develop a culture of ethical business practices. Alsco has invested heavily in all manner of systems to protect the environment. The company prizes its integrity and the respect it has enjoyed as a member of the communities in which it operates, including Portland, where Alsco has been in business since 1944. The company has determined that this conduct was limited to its Portland plant. In fact, the company has a history of immediately halting improper testing practices it discovered in some of the facilities it acquired. Nevertheless, Alsco recognizes that it needs to do better and is implementing improvements to its internal procedures to make sure this never happens again.
“Alsco believes that its Portland plant is now in full compliance with all permit requirements and the company intends to remain in compliance. Alsco takes this very seriously.” Click here to learn more.