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FURNITURE FIRM TO PAY $115,000 TO SETTLE AIR POLLUTION CASE
Release Date: 3/23/2000
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, 415-744-1578
BROWNWOOD GOT PERMITS IMPROPERLY; NOW MUST CUT POLLUTION
San Francisco -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Brownwood Furniture, Inc., has agreed to pay a $115,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act at the company's Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. furniture factory. EPA alleged that the facility improperly received air emission permits for new paint spray booths on the basis of incorrect information, failed to apply pollution controls and provide emission offsets for the new spray booths, and violated permit emission limits for an existing spray booth. Under the settlement, Brownwood will substantially reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from each of its two new furniture coating spray booths.
"For the sake of public health, all companies must comply with requirements that limit their air emissions. To clean the air in Southern California, all polluters must cooperate," said Dave Howekamp, director of EPA's regional Air Division.
Brownwood's incorrect information in its permit application led air regulators to believe that a different company, John David International, was proposing to operate old spray booths relocated from its existing business in Anaheim, which would have required no emission offsets under the South Coast Air Quality Management District's permitting rules. In fact, the company named on the application did not exist, and the "existing" business location in Anaheim had been demolished for a freeway expansion. Brownwood's operation of its spray booths should have triggered a requirement that Brownwood apply Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and reduce pollution elsewhere to offset the added emissions, as required under the federal Clean Air Act.
The settlement requires Brownwood to apply BACT to the two new spray booths by either installing air pollution control equipment to reduce VOC emissions by 90%, or by exclusively using ultra-low VOC furniture coatings. Brownwood also is required to obtain emission reductions credits to offset the VOC emission increases associated with these spray booths. In addition, Brownwood must comply with VOC emission limits on an older existing coating spray booth at its facility.