Rum Maker Bacardi Settles Polluted Water Case

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, November 6, 2008 (ENS) – The Bacardi corporation and the U.S. EPA have reached an agreement that spells out the resolution of Clean Water Act violations at Bacardi’s rum manufacturing facility in Cataño, Puerto Rico.

Under the agreement, a consent decree approved by the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico, Bacardi has paid a $550,000 penalty, and will donate and preserve land valued at $1 million.

“The violations in this case were serious, and EPA is pleased to see Bacardi’s willingness to address them and to take steps to prevent future violations,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan Steinberg.

EPA alleged in its complaint that from March 2002 to July 2008, Bacardi failed to comply with pollutant limits in its permit and, in some instances, failed to report monitoring results for discharges into the Atlantic Ocean off Puerto Rico’s north shore.

The Bacardi rum distillery in Cataño, Puerto
Rico (Photo credit unknown)

EPA cited Bacardi for failure to meet pollutant limits for cadmium, lead, copper, oil and grease, selenium, zinc and two types of organic compounds.

In addition to the penalty, Bacardi will donate a two acre parcel of land in the Cienega Las Cucharillas watershed that is adjacent to the San Juan Estuary. The land was appraised for $1 million and will be received by Universidad Metropolitana, a private university in Cupey.

The land encompasses wetlands and upland areas, and is bordered by tidal black mangroves, trees that are vital to preserving Puerto Rico’s unique ecosystem.

Under the agreement, the land transfer is considered a supplemental environmental project – an environmentally beneficial project that a violator voluntarily agrees to undertake in settlement. It must be a project that a violator will not otherwise be required to perform.

Additionally, Bacardi will be given two years to address stringent bacteria limits and will be required to meet interim limits for bacteria during that period.

Bacardi also agreed to undertake enhanced monitoring of its discharges should it have operational problems at its treatment facilities in the future.

Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets more than 200 brands and labels of internationally recognized spirits. It was founded in Santiago de Cuba, February 4, 1862.

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