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EPA settles with two Illinois companies for chemical release reporting violations

Release Date: 10/21/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA201

CHICAGO (Oct. 21, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled administrative cases with two Illinois companies for violations of federal law governing the reporting of hazardous chemical releases. The companies involved and the location of their Illinois facilities are Orica Nitrogen LLC, Morris; and PPG Industries Inc., Mt. Zion.

The EPA regulations require anyone handling hazardous materials to notify federal, state and local emergency responders when leaks or excessive releases occur.

Orica Nitrogen agreed to pay a civil penalty of $13,750 and spend at least $100,000 on a supplemental environmental project to settle an EPA allegation that the company was late in reporting excessive emissions of anhydrous ammonia. On April 30, 2003, Orica determined its nitrogen oxide reduction system was releasing 1,177 pounds of anhydrous ammonia per day. That volume was 11 times over the 100-pound threshold required for government notification. The National Response Center and state and local responder agencies were not notified about the Orica situation until late on May 1, a violation of the reporting requirements. The company was also late in submitting a required follow-up report to state and local emergency agencies.

For its supplemental environmental project, Orica Nitrogen will install a hydrogen peroxide dousing system that will be used during start-ups of the nitric acid plant and will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent, or about 30 tons per year.

PPG Industries will spend $46,550 on a supplemental environmental project to settle the EPA hazardous material reporting complaint. The company has already paid a $26,064 penalty. On Feb. 1, 2004, PPG discovered 711 pounds of anhydrous ammonia had leaked from its Mt. Zion plant, but the National Response Center and state emergency response authorities were not notified until Feb. 2. Local emergency responders were never notified. PPG also failed to submit a required follow-up report to state and local emergency agencies until 26 days after the leak. PPG uses anhydrous ammonia as part of its air pollution controls to react with volatile organic compounds in its process exhaust. Under its supplemental environmental project, PPG will donate two thermal imaging cameras and one air compressor to the Mt. Zion Fire Department.

Anhydrous ammonia can be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time. It causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

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