State Fines Orleans Ethanol Plant Over Environmental Violations

Jan 25, 2016
Originally published on January 25, 2016 4:08 pm

New York State  has fined an ethanol production plant in Orleans County, after the DEC says there was illegal disposal of industrial waste on its land in the Town of Shelby.

The $87,000 fine was against Western New York Energy, which processes corn into ethanol.  DEC officials say that a firm hired by that Orleans County company, Hydro-Klean of Iowa, helped dispose of industrial waste during a regular plant cleaning.

The state says the waste water, which includes trace amounts of ammonia and other materials, was dumped into the ground.

Hydro-Klean pled guilty last August to the unlawful disposal of industrial waste and was fined $50,000. This month, the Town of Shelby Court sentenced Western NY Energy to pay an $87,000 fine.

The CEO of Western NY Energy, Michael Sawyer, issued a statement saying that his company cooperated with the DEC's investigation of a third-party contractor's improper handling of solid waste. He says fortunately, independent testing confirmed that there was no environmental harm as a result. Sawyer says although the investigation was focused on the actions of the contractor, his company, as the property owner, acknowledges that it has responsibility for events that occur on its property.