National grocery chain settles with EPA over violations

February 13, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it has settled federal storm water pollution violations with SuperValu Holdings, Inc., a Minneapolis Minnesota-based national wholesale grocery distributor. The national grocery distributor has agreed to pay $120,000 as a penalty to resolve the violations. The settlement is a part of federal efforts to protect and restore the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean which lies along the northwestern coast of Washington State.

In 2013 the EPA conducted inspections of three different SuperValu facilities, two located in Tacoma and one in Auburn, each of which had a number of violations of the Clean Water Act. Issues included the company's lapse in implementing adequate storm water control measures, a lack of benchmark monitoring of storm water discharges, negligence of storm water inspection documentation, and failing to institute and follow an adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

Ed Kowalski, director of EPA's Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, stated, "Storm water runoff remains one of Puget Sound's most persistent and serious threats. Every storm sends chemicals, heavy metals, contaminated sediment and nutrients streaming directly into our waterways and Puget Sound. For the sake of the Sound, we will continue to ensure that facilities comply with the fundamental environmental responsibilities outlined in their permits."

This isn't the first time SuperValu Holdings Inc. has been targeted for storm water discharge violations. In 2010 an environmental protection group sued SuperValu for allegedly infringing permits by discharging pollutants into a Washington creek. As a part of the permit, SuperValu was required to monitor and sample all storm water discharge, which, according to the complaint, it failed to do. The grocery chain settled that previous dispute in 2011.

If you work with pollutants or hazardous waste, environmental consultants can help you conduct frequent assessments to ensure federal compliance at all times.