A settlement to resolve air pollution violations at a Modesto cereal manufacturing facility was announced on Friday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Post Holdings, Inc. and Ralcorp Holdings Inc. will be fined $635,000 for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The settlement agreement includes the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Post Holdings had previously announced on April 4, 2013, that it will be closing the Modesto facility and transferring operations to other facilities. According to Post, the decision to close the plant had nothing at all to do with the air pollution violations and penalties.
The violations included failure to obtain all required air pollution operating permits as well as failure to install necessary air pollution controls. Approximately $1.8 million has already been spent on the required controls after the violations were discovered. The equipment involved included cereal coaters and dryers, which were emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in excess of allowed limits.
The facility manufactures cereals such as Grape-Nuts and Banana Nut Crunch.
“Like many large manufacturers, Post operates multiple plants across the nation, and ensuring that they have proper air pollution controls in place is critical,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal is to protect the public from harmful ozone and particulate.”
According to a press release from Post Holdings, the facility was already in non-compliance prior its acquisition of the facility in 2008 by Post's predecessor company, Ralcorp Holdings Inc. Post Holdings separated from Ralcorp in 2012.