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EPA fines Phoenix company for hazardous air pollutant violations

Release Date: 6/8/2005
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined a Phoenix company $1,200 for failing to comply with federal standards for air toxics emissions from its metal-parts cleaning facility.

Certified Industries Inc., which is no longer in business and has since filed for bankruptcy, violated a portion of the Clean Air Act that governs how much halogenated solvent, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), a company can emit from machines used in its operations. The violations could have resulted in a $93,500 penalty, but was adjusted after the EPA analyzed the company's finances.

The EPA and the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department inspected Certified Industried in January 2003 and found that on three occasions between January 2000 and December 2002 the company exceeded the TCE emissions limit for its degreaser and failed to meet the equipment standards with certain work practices.

"Companies with degreasing operations must comply with air pollution laws so their operations don't release excessive hazardous emissions," said Deborah Jordan, director of the EPA's Air Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "I hope the EPA's action here sends a clear message to companies that they will face federal enforcement if they fail to control their emissions."

Under the regulations, a company can either limit its emissions through an overall monthly limit or comply by using specific work practices and equipment, both of which give equivalent emissions controls.

Exposure to hazardous air pollutants like TCE can result in greater risks of leukemia and other cancers, as well adverse reproductive and developmental effects.

The EPA began inspecting degreasing companies in January 2003 and has taken enforcement actions against Arizona companies for similar violations. Follow-up inspections may be done at these companies to ensure they are complying with applicable air pollution laws.

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