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EPA cites Akron Thermal for clean-air violations

Release Date: 8/29/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA158

CHICAGO (Aug. 29, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Akron Thermal LP for alleged clean-air violations at a district heating and cooling plant operated by the company and owned by the city of Akron at 226 Opportunity Parkway, Akron, Ohio.

EPA alleges that Akron Thermal has violated its state permit-to-install and operating permit by emitting excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide, particulate matter (smoke, dust, ash), hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid mist from the plant. The alleged violations were discovered during tests done in October 2004 and in February 2005. EPA alleges that some of the violations are ongoing.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "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. Akron Thermal has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide can impair breathing, aggravate existing respiratory diseases like bronchitis and reduce the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. Sulfur dioxide causes acid rain.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most. Particulates also appear to aggravate the impact of sulfur dioxide pollution.

Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Inhalation may cause coughing, hoarseness, inflammation and ulceration of the respiratory tract, and chest pain.

Sulfuric acid mist can irritate lungs, eyes and skin. People with chronic respiratory, intestinal, or nervous diseases and any eye and skin diseases are at greater risk.

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