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Release Date: 6/24/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant

Companies failed to comply with air pollution emissions standards

SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has take acation against eight companies in the Los Angeles area for failing to comply with federal standards for emissions of air toxics.

On June 18, 2002, EPA settled administrative actions against Drilube of Glendale, Calif. and Jan-Kens of Monrovia, Calif. The companies will pay penalties of $66,500 and $66,990 respectively for alleged violations of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants   or NESHAP   for degreasers.

"These enforcement actions should send a clear message to other companies that we will pursue federal enforcement if they fail to abide by requirements to control emissions from halogenated solvent degreasing operations," said Ken Bigos, associate director of EPA's air division in San Francisco. "Companies must comply with air pollution laws so their operations don't needlessly pollute and, as a consequence, jeopardize worker safety."

Also, EPA today issued administrative orders to Monitor Plating and Polishing of Pasadena, Optical Components of Covina, Calif. and Shurco Tool of Covina, Calif.  requiring them to comply with NESHAP for degreasers as soon as possible.

On May 9, 2002, EPA issued administrative orders to Advanced Coating and Silkscreening of Gardena, Calif., Slide Systems of El Segundo, Calif., and Chromalloy of Gardena, Calif. also ordering compliance with NESHAP for halogenated solvent degreasers. Failure to comply with the NESHAP could result in fines of up to $27,500 per day of violation.

EPA began inspecting companies in the Los Angeles area which use halogentated solvents in 2001 at the request of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) after a survey by the two agencies found that few facilities in the area were complying with the NESHAP for degreasers.

The survey was done in anticipation of a similar AQMD rule, effective at the end of this year, tightening regulation on halogenated solvents.  The rule requires degreasing facilities to convert to aqueous cleaning systems while giving them the option to continue using halogenated solvents if they do so with airless/airtight equipment. Both are acceptable under the federal rules as compliance options. According to AQMD, conversion to aqueous systems is the most viable and cost-effective compliance solution for most companies currently subject to NESHAP.

Approximately two dozen inspections were completed over a six month period. As a result, EPA issued administrative orders to those companies found not to be complying with NESHAP.  Follow up inspections will be done at these companies to ensure they are complying with applicable air pollution laws.

"South Coast wants to raise the level of awareness regarding the local and federal requirements that are applicable to degreasing operations. We especially want degreasing facilities to prepare to comply with AQMD's rule," said Carol Coy, AQMD's deputy executive officer for engineering and compliance. "Working together with U.S. EPA will enhance our efforts to protect the health of all people who live and work near degreasing operations."

Among other things, NESHAP governs how much halogenated solvent such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane a company can emit from machines used to degrease metal parts. Halogenated solvents emit volatile organic compounds, a key component of smog.  Potential health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous air pollutants include leukemia and other cancers and reproductive and developmental effects.

For more information about NESHAP, visit: