The city of St. Joseph has pulled a wastewater contribution permit from a local chemical products company, ending its ability to discharge wastewater into the city sewer system.
According to a press release from the city, the HPI Products facility located at 222 Sylvanie St. will no longer be able release water into the system beginning Friday, Feb. 21.
The release states that the “continued failure to comply with sewer use requirements” that apply to industrial users led to the permit being revoked.
Public Works Director Andy Clements said the city has worked with HPI to try and solve the issue that is leading to unauthorized chemicals getting into the wastewater system.
“We haven’t been making progress to the degree required, so after a very extended period of trying to work with the company, we were forced to send a letter and ask them to wind up business there and then shut them down,” Clements said.
He said a result of revoking the permit will be that the building will be “yellow tagged,” and the company will only be allowed inside to clean up as part of state and federal mandates. Employees will be supervised when they enter the building to continue that cleanup to ensure no production takes place that results in water being discharged.
“Two years ago or so, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the EPA started enforcement actions on the company,” Clements said. “While the enforcement actions are continuing with the state and federal government, we have several responsibilities over and above that. So, we’ve continued to monitor discharges of unpermitted waste into our collection system.”
Mayor Bill McMurray admitted that he is not very familiar with the exact situation that led to the permit being revoked, but he hopes to find a solution.
“I sure wish there were another way, I hate to see a local company have their utility shut off when they need that to stay in business,” McMurray said. “I would hope that something could be worked out that would be fair to everybody.”
The facility’s output will be monitored during a wind-down period.
Clements said appeals from the company have been rejected, but if changes are made that keep the production process from allowing the chemicals from getting into the sewer system, HPI would be able to reopen.