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A paper-products maker pleaded guilty to violating pollution standards and was ordered to pay $13 million in what officials called the biggest fine ever under the federal Clean Water Act.

Dexter Corp. pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Thursday to eight felony counts of knowingly violating the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.The charges relate to a four-year spate of pollution violations that caused contamination of the plant's site in Windsor Locks and portions of the Connecticut River.

It was fined $4 million in criminal penalties and $9 million in civil penalties - $7.2 million for water violations and $1.8 million for hazardous waste management penalties.

Representatives of the U.S. Justice Department, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state attorney general's office and the state Department of Environmental Protection announced the settlement at a joint news conference.

The officials said the $13 million was the largest fine ever levied under the Clean Water Act.

K. Grahame Walker, Dexter's president and chief executive officer, issued a statement pledging to make sure the Fortune 500 company no longer violates environmental laws. He said the company would upgrade its plant and continue to review plant operations to prevent future spills.

Between 1987 and 1990, the company discharged the hazardous substance carbon disulfide at its plant.

Carbon disulfide, used in making rayon and cellophane, is stored in 55-gallon drums. The company transferred the chemical from the drums to a storage tank, but in the process some of it remained in the drums.