Chilean environment regulator charges food firm for water pollution

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chile's environmental regulator SMA has filed charges against food processing firm Kimica Chile following an inspection visit that revealed several breaches of its environmental permit (RCA) regarding pollution of groundwater resources.

Kimica Chile processes brown seaweed to obtain alginates, which are used in the food industry, SMA said in a press release.

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Following several complaints from local residents, SMA conducted an onsite inspection, which uncovered various infringements of the firm's RCA, including failure to have a mud thickener; failure to monitor water flow, lack of complete waterproofing for seaweed deposits and breaches of Chilean potable water regulations on monitoring of underground aquifers, among others.

Of the infringements, two are considered 'serious' and five 'minor'. The firm faces the possibility of fines of up to 15,000 UTAs (annual tax units, or US$12.3mn), the temporary or permanent suspension of its operations or even the revocation of its RCA.

Once officially notified, Kimica Chile has 10 days to present a compliance plan and 15 days to file an appeal against the charges.