MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A longtime paperboard manufacturer in Jefferson County, W.Va., has agreed to pay a $104,850 civil penalty to settle alleged water-pollution violations at its facility in Halltown near Harpers Ferry.
Ox Paperboard LLC, formerly Halltown Paperboard, has agreed to pay the penalty, make additional system upgrades and pay $50,000 to fund an environmental project within the Shenandoah River watershed as part of a proposed agreement, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and court documents.
The planned installation of two system upgrades at the company was estimated to cost $564,500, according to court documents.
Final settlement is subject to comments received from the public during a 30-day comment period, which ends Jan. 30, according to the WVDEP.
The settlement would resolve a federal lawsuit, which was initially filed last year by Shenandoah Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper Inc., according to court records.
The environmental group alleged in a complaint that the company, which began operating in 1869 in Halltown, violated sections of the federal Clean Water Act and the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act multiple times, according to a consent degree filed in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg Dec. 28.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Ox Paper Tube & Core Inc., in Hanover, Pa., uses about 100,000 gallons of water per day from Flowing Springs Run, according to court documents.
Ox Paperboard’s website said the company is one of the leading producers of 100 percent recycled paperboard, and claims it is “one of the cleanest operating facilities in the industry and continues to produce the highest quality products with greatest value to our customers.”
The company’s website said Ox Paperboard was able to save more than 70 employees when it bought the majority of the assets of Halltown Paperboard in 2007 and began to operate the mill.
Comments and information requests about the proposed Consent Decree may be addressed to the Office of Legal Services, WV Department of Environmental Protection, 601 57th Street, S.E., Charleston, WV 25304. Comments may also be submitted electronically to DEP.Comments@wv.gov.
The proposed settlement may be viewed at www.dep.wv.gov/pio/Pages/Settlements,Ordersouttopublicnotice.aspx.