Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan hit Baxter Healthcare (NYSE:BAX) with a lawsuit yesterday, alleging that the company’s R&D facility dumped contaminated wastewater into a tributary that feeds into Long Lake, polluting the waters beyond allowable limits.
Madigan filed the complaint in Lake County Circuit Court and urged the court to force Baxter to stop over-polluting the tributary, as well as pay a penalty for violating its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
“This lawsuit requires Baxter to take immediate steps to prevent further polluting the lake and to pay penalties for its violations,” the attorney general said in prepared remarks.
Concerned about Baxter’s onsite wastewater treatment system, community groups have been in contact with Madigan’s office. According to reports that Baxter submitted to the state’s Environmental Protection Agency, the company violated its NPDES permit multiple times between January and May last year by releasing water that contained more than the allowable amount of total suspended solids and contaminants.
These contaminants, according to the attorney general’s office, deplete oxygen levels in water and lead to the rapid growth of plants like algae, which hurt the ecosystem.
A spokesperson for Baxter told the Daily Herald that the company “strives to be a leader in environmental compliance both globally and in the communities in which we operate.”
“Baxter is aware of the complaint filed by the Illinois attorney general and has implemented corrective and preventive actions to avoid recurrence of the issues raised in its complaint,” spokesman John O’Malley added. “We will address the complaint through the proper channels and will not speculate or discuss specific details at this time.”