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EPA reaches agreement with Metal Recycling Systems on clean-air violations

Release Date: 10/06/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254 , omohundro.william@epa.gov

For Immediate Release
No. 09-OPA191


(Chicago – Oct. 6, 2009) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Metal Recycling Systems Inc. on alleged clean-air violations at the company’s scrap recycling facility at 3000 W. 139 th St. , Blue Island , Ill.

The agreement, which includes a $30,000 penalty and an environmental project costing $30,000, resolves EPA allegations that MRS failed to comply with EPA regulations designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer.

In March 2008, EPA cited MRS for failing to recover or to verify recovery of ozone-depleting refrigerants from small appliances that it accepted and processed at its facility. EPA discovered the alleged violations during a January 2008 facility inspection and a subsequent request for information.

For its environmental project, MRS will undertake a one-year program called an Intact Appliance Pilot Program. To carry out the program, the company will offer an increased price for intact appliances as an incentive to its customers not to cut appliance refrigerant lines and unnecessarily and illegally bleed refrigerant. MRS will use its refrigerant recovery equipment to properly collect refrigerant from the appliances it accepts and track the number of appliances processed through the program.

Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants and certain substitute refrigerants deplete the stratospheric, or “good,” ozone layer allowing dangerous amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays from the sun to strike the earth. Production of some of these chemical was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

Information about EPA Region 5’s air enforcement program is at http://www.epa.gov/region5/air/enforce/index.html . Potential environmental violations may be reported at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints .

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