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Coke admits Atlanta city may seek wastewater damages

By Ben Bouckley+

28-Feb-2013
Last updated on 01-Mar-2013 at 09:52 GMT

Picture Copyright: The Coca-Cola Company
Picture Copyright: The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company revealed yesterday that City of Atlanta regulatory authorities may seek monetary or other sanctions against it due to potential inaccuracies in wastewater reports submitted by its Atlanta syrup plant.

Coke also faces a similar situation in Brazil, due to “compliance related issues” related to its sites in the State of Pernambuco, the company reported in a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing yesterday.

In its annual report issued to the SEC yesterday, Coke said that the plant discharged wastewater to a City of Atlanta wastewater treatment works upon the basis of a government-issued permit under the U.S. Clean Water Act and related state and local laws and regulations. 

“The company became aware that wastewater-related reports filed by ASP with regulators may contain certain inaccurate information and made self-disclosure to the City of Atlanta regarding the matter as required by applicable law,” Coke said.

Coke responds, Brazilian compliance issues

Accordingly, Coke said that regulatory authorities may now seek monetary and/or other sanctions against it, although the firm said it didn’t believe that any potential sanctions would be material to its business, financial condition or results of operations.

Coca-Cola director of public affairs and communications, Sarah Cannon, told BeverageDaily.com: "We are in the process of correcting a wastewater issue we identified and reported at one of our Atlanta production facilities. We are cooperating and working with the City of Atlanta to take appropriate steps to ensure our operations comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. This situation does not pose a public health, safety or environmental threat.

"Coca-Cola is committed to sustainable and responsible growth, and we recognize the health of our business is directly linked to the health of the environment and the communities we serve around the world. This commitment to healthy communities starts in our hometown of Atlanta."

Coke also revealed that it was working with Brazilian environmental regulators in the State of Pernambuco to address “certain compliance-related issues” at its facility in Suape, “including with respect to the building of a new wastewater treatment plant.

Again, the Coca-Cola Company admitted that Brazilian regulatory authorities may pursue sanctions against it, along the same lines as authorities in Atlanta.

The Coca-Cola Company’s annual report filing is available here on the SEC website .

*Story updated with Coca-Cola Company response, March 1 2013.

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