The Virginia State Water Control Board has obtained $65,000 in grants to help clean up the state's waters in out-of-court settlements of pollution violations with the Smithfield Packing Co. of Smithfield, FMC Corp. of Fredericksburg, and Federal-Mogul Corp. of Blacksburg.
The corporate agreements to provide grants for environmental protection came in a first round of settlements of violations stemming from failure to meet stricter water pollution standards, which went into effect last July 1. The board will drop its lawsuits against the companies as part of the accords.
The board hailed settlements as the cap on a "tremendous improvement in water quality" in the state's rivers and streams since 1972.
According to SWCB statistics, the 61 industrial which produce 91 percent of industrial waste flow have spent about $205 million on pollution control since the federal Water Pollution Control Act was passed six years ago. The annual operating cost of the control devices is $33 million, according to the SWCB.
As a result, industrial pollution has been cut from 526,000 pounds per day of solids to a present limit of about 158,000 pounds. The flow of oxygen-demanding waste has dropped from 313,000 pounds per day to 123,000 pounds.
FMC Corp. settled a $20,000 law suit filed by SWCB against it for acid and alkaline discharges at FMC's Rappahannock River plant by agreeing to give $20,000 to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Center for Environmental Studies.
FMC had agreed to complete installing equipment to prevent the violations by July 1, but could not get on line until September. FMC has since closed the plant due to a lack of demand for cellophane - after the company spent about $3 million on pollution control there.
Federal-Mogul, a maker of machined metal parts, resolved at: $80,000 state suit against it by agreeing to give $20,000 to Virginia Tech for a study of biological monitoring systems. The company uses high alkalinity levels in water to remove heavy metals from its waste, but had failed to cut the alkalinity to required standards before the final discharge of waste into Cedar Rum which flows into the Roanoke River.
The board said Federal-Mogul expects to have an adequate treatment capacity in operation later this month.
Smithfield agreed to pay $25,000 to the the state oil spill contingency fund before the control board brought formal legal action against it. The SWCB said the pork and ham processing company had been allowing organic material to flow into the Pagan River, a tributary of the James.
A SWCB spokesman said that 80 percent of Virginia's industries had met the July 1 compliance deadline last year and that those that didn't are being pursued vigorously.