2 Kansas companies fined $1 million in 2016 Atchison chemical mix-up


ATCHISON, Kan. (KSNT) – Two Kansas companies were fined $1 million each on Wednesday for violating the federal Clean Air Act when a cloud of toxic chlorine gas was released over Atchison in 2016, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree sentenced Harcros Chemicals, Inc. and MGP Ingredients, Inc. during a hearing in federal court on Wednesday.

Both companies pleaded guilty to negligently violating the Clean Air Act. McAllister said in their pleas, the companies admitted that on Oct. 21, 2016, a greenish-yellow chlorine gas cloud formed at MGP Ingredients’ facility in Atchison when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite.

“The chemicals involved in this case posed serious public health and environmental dangers,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Cate Holston of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas.  “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put an entire community at risk.”

Both companies have paid the fines, according to McAllister.

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