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TIMET TO PAY $430,000 TO SETTLE AIR POLLUTION VIOLATIONS AT HENDERSON FACILITY

Release Date: 12/17/1999
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, EPA, 415/744-1578, Blaine T. Welsh, U.S. Attorney's Office, 702-388-6336, Robert Kaplan, U.S. Department of Justice, 202-616-8915

     Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Exceeded Limits; Agreement Limits Other Pollutants, As Well
                                 
     SAN FRANCISCO  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) today announced that Titanium Metals Corp., known as TIMET, has agreed to pay a $430,000 penalty to settle Clean Air Act violations at the firm's Henderson, Nev., titanium ingot producing plant.  From 1992 to 1998, the facility had been emitting up to 360 tons of sulfur dioxide per year, about four times the final permit limit. Last year, TIMET installed pollution controls that dramatically reduce these emissions. Under the agreement, TIMET will also reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and other pollutants.

        "The negative impact of sulfur dioxide on people and our environment is a major concern for us," said David Howekamp, director of U.S. EPA's western regional air division.  "In addition to the obvious health concerns from airborne pollutants, we promulgated the Regional Haze Rule earlier this year to focus on visibility impacts on our national parks.  TIMET's sulfur dioxide emissions may be contributing to the regional haze that is obscuring visibility at national parks and wilderness areas in the Southwest."

     U.S. Attorney Kathryn E. Landreth added that she was very pleased with the settlement reached in this case.  "Air pollution issues are a significant concern in the Las Vegas Valley.  This consent decree helps to address that concern by requiring TIMET to install better pollution control equipment so that we all have cleaner air to breathe.  I and my staff are committed to doing our part to enforce the Clean Air Act."

     TIMET's Henderson facility burns coke, which contains sulfur.  From 1992 to 1998,  the plant operated with a carbon monoxide burner, which reduced emissions of that toxic gas, but increased a hundred-fold the facility's potential to emit sulfur dioxide.  The Clark County Health District in 1997 issued TIMET an air permit that required the facility to install the Best Available Control Technology to limit Sulfur Dioxide emissions.  TIMET installed a wet scrubber to comply with this requirement in 1998.

     Under the agreement, in addition to paying the $430,000 civil penalty, TIMET must comply with hourly, daily, and annual limits on carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.  The agreement also includes strict limits on emissions of chlorine and carbonyl sulfide, and requires increased monitoring for these emissions.    

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