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EPA cites JLM Chemicals for clean-air violations

Release Date: 06/28/2006
Contact Information: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254,

No. 06-OPA109

CHICAGO (June 28, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited JLM Chemicals Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's chemical manufacturing plant, 3350 W. 131st St., Blue Island, Ill.

EPA alleges that JLM, which produces phenol and uses benzene, cumene and acetophenone in its manufacturing process, failed to comply with leak detection and repair requirements at the plant. Leak detection and repair regulations require regular monitoring of connectors, valves and pumps. If leaks are found, they must be repaired promptly.

In addition, EPA alleges JLM failed to operate its thermal oxidizer in the manner required by federal and state regulations and its state operating permit. Thermal oxidizers are used to destroy hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds emitted by industrial processes. Regulations require that they be operated at temperatures that ensure efficient destruction of these pollutants.

EPA discovered the alleged violations during plant inspections in February and March.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. JLM has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Phenol, benzene, cumene and acetophenone are all hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds that can contribute to the formation of smog. Hazardous air pollutants may cause serious health effects including birth defects and cancer. They may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects.

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