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Nation’s 2nd Largest Glass Manufacturer Pays for Air Pollution Violations Saint-Gobain Glass Containers, Inc. fined nearly $1M by U.S. EPA in 2005; company now facing additional penalties

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: Mary Simms, (415) 947-4270, simms.mary@epa.gov

(9/30/08 -- SAN FRANCISCO) The nation’s second largest glass container manufacturer, Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. is facing a $139,534 fine from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The settlement resolves alleged federal Clean Air Act violations at Saint-Gobain’s wine bottle manufacturing facility in Madera, California.

In 2005, Saint-Gobain settled with the EPA for $929,000 following Clean Air Act violations and agreed to install $6 million of pollution controls and to complete a $1.2 million environmental project aimed at reducing emissions.

This enforcement action arose from a routine EPA compliance inspection where inspectors discovered violations of monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

“After the EPA concludes an enforcement action, our responsibilities don't end,” said Deborah Jordan, Air Division Director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “EPA inspectors routinely return to ensure that facilities are in compliance."

When glass is manufactured, the process results in emissions of air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. Particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. It’s made up of a number of components, including acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.

The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. The EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

The Saint-Gobain facility is located in the San Joaquin Valley, an area which does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone or fine particle pollution.
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