Lawsuit prompts Seattle metal recycler to cut pollution

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SEATTLE (AP) - A major Seattle scrap metal recycler has agreed to make an estimated $1 million worth of pollution-control improvements to settle a federal lawsuit.

The conservation group Puget Soundkeeper alleged that Seattle Iron and Metals Corp. has been discharging contaminated wastewater and stormwater into the Duwamish River, which is already a federal Superfund site from decades of heavy industrial use.

In a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, the company agreed to improve pollution controls, including equipment to contain toxic dust emitted when vehicles are shredded for recycling. Seattle Iron and Metals also must monitor stormwater and dust for PCBs, toxic chemicals that were banned from manufacturing in the 1970s, and install more sophisticated pollution controls if the PCBs exceed certain levels.

The company is paying $1.2 million to cover Puget Soundkeeper's legal fees and costs, and $200,000 to a fund for projects to benefit the environment and human health in the Duwamish and central Puget Sound watersheds.