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Oregon Metallurgical Corp to Spend $750,000 to Settle EPA Enforcement Action

Release Date: 6/30/2004
Contact Information: Kevin Schanilec
(206) 553-1061

June 30, 2004

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Oregon Metallurgical Corporation, an Albany, Oregon-based mineral processor, will pay a $250,000 penalty and will also spend almost $500, 000 on “Supplemental Environmental Projects” (SEPs) as part of a compliance agreement signed today.

The agreement stems from enforcement action the EPA took after agency inspectors discovered potentially dangerous hazardous waste treatment practices, involving highly acidic and reactive wastes.

According to documents filed with the agreement, when EPA inspectors visited the facility in 2000, they discovered that the company was operating a hazardous waste surface impoundment, or acid sump, without a permit, and had been doing so for at least five years prior to the investigation. The inspection also revealed that the company was operating an acid “spray pad,” where minerals would be dissolved in a shower of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids – also without a permit – and had also been doing so for at least five years prior to the investigation. In addition, the investigation uncovered hazardous material storage problems, including an open and unlabeled container of waste sulfuric acid.

After negotiating with the EPA to resolve the alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the company agreed to rectify the problems, pay the penalty, and perform two Supplementary Environmental Projects which will reduce hazardous waste generation at the facility and will set aside wetlands along the Willamette River in Albany.

The projects include eliminating the acid washing process for titanium chip cleaning at its Albany, Oregon facility and by directing its affiliate, TDY Industries Inc., to dedicate approximately twelve acres of its Millersburg, Oregon facility as a wetland.

“We’re pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that can and will do so much for the environment,” said EPA’s Regional Administrator, John Iani. “Not only has the company corrected its past behaviors, but it will also go beyond legal requirements to reduce its hazardous waste and help the Willamette. This is a good day for the environment and, we think, for the company.”

Under the agreement signed today, the company does not admit liability for the violations of federal laws alleged by the EPA.