Chocolate and candy manufacturer Russell Stover Candies Inc., Kansas City, Kan., has agreed to pay a $585,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its facility in Iola, Kan.

In June 2008, when the Environmental Protection Agency audited the city of Iola’s pretreatment implementation activities, it identified numerous program deficiencies, including Russell Stover’s discharges of acidic wastewater to a publicly owned treatment works. In July 2009, the EPA issued an administrative compliance order to the candy maker to cease the discharges and set up monitoring, and to provide additional information to the EPA.

The violations were documented through sampling conducted by Russell Stover but did not stop until the EPA issued the 2009 compliance, at which time the company implemented pretreatment measures and enhanced its discharge monitoring.

“This settlement sends a clear message,” says EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks. “Companies that use publicly owned treatment works to treat their wastewater must follow the law. In this case, Russell Stover had been discharging acidic wastewater for years, and deteriorated sewer lines and manholes in Iola.”

The consent decree requires Russell Stover to perform compliance monitoring for a period of two years and submit a pretreatment plan if the monitoring shows noncompliance. The consent decree is subject to a public comment period and court approval before it becomes final.