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EPA cites University of Cincinnati for clean-air violations

Release Date: 09/12/2006
Contact Information: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254,

No. 06-OPA159

CHICAGO (Sept. 12, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited the University of Cincinnati for alleged clean-air violations at the university's power plant at 3001 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio.

EPA alleges that 2004 and 2005 data from continuous monitors at the university's boiler and turbines show that opacity or the amount of light obscured by particulates (smoke, dust, ash) as well as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions exceeded limits in federal and state regulations and in the university's state operating and construction permits.

"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. The University of Cincinnati has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.

Nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these concerns are important to everyone.

When carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream, it reduces delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can impair vision, hand movement, learning ability, performance of complex tasks, and can cause death.

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