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Monday, August 8, 2011 - 8:48am

Imperial Sugar Settles EPD Violation

Imperial Sugar has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle multiple charges that the company violated Georgia's clean water standards.

The state Environmental Protection Division says, the company sent sugary wastewater down drains leading to the river.

The discharges could have impaired the river's oxygen levels, which are important to aquatic life.

The incidents date to a period two years after an explosion killed 14 people at Imperial Sugar's refinery on the Savannah River.

EPD environmental engineer Scott Southwick says, the waste could have been a result of idled equipment or new upgrades since the explosion.

"[New equipment] may just not have married as well as they thought it would with the old pieces of equipment," Southwick says. "And the pieces of equipment that did not explode sat idle for 18 months, two years or however long it was and, I think, some unanticipated things happened as a result of it just sitting around for so long."

Southwick says, the company self-reported the incidents.

The public has until August 17th to comment on the proposed settlement.

A spokesman for Imperial Sugar said the company would not comment on the story.