In 1995, NELC filed suit against French Paper Co., a Niles, MI-based specialty paper products facility, for discharging excessive solids and oxygen-depleting chemicals into the St. Joseph River. By the time of the lawsuit, French Paper had exceeded its permitted limits on total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand by 800% and 200%, respectively, within a single month.

Shortly after we filed our lawsuit, French Paper began working towards cleaning up its discharge. Litigation concluded in 1997 with a consent decree ordering the company to implement extensive new wastewater treatment measures, comply with its permit limits, and pay a $40,000 penalty, half of which was used to fund water quality monitoring to benefit the St. Joseph River.