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Wallingford Chemical Company Fined for Clean Air Violations

Release Date: 10/26/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – October 26, 2009) – Cytec Industries, an international chemical company based in Wallingford, Conn., will pay a civil penalty of $155,000 and spend $150,000 to perform an environmentally beneficial project to resolve EPA claims that the company violated the federal Clean Air Act.

The company’s Wallingford plant contained a production line that used to manufacture resins. These resins, which are used in the coating of certain types of furniture, contain “Hazardous Air Pollutants.” An EPA inspection revealed that Cytec emitted excess Hazardous Air Pollutants, including formaldehyde and methanol, in violation of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Amino/Phenolic Resins. Cytec also failed to submit to EPA an adequate operating plan for several tanks that store volatile liquids and failed to properly respond to EPA’s requests for information.

"Hazardous air pollutants can pose a serious risk to workers and to the public,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Ira Leighton. “It is critical that all companies make every effort to comply with environmental laws and regulations and minimize pollution."

The environmental project that Cytec will perform involves a two phase effort to reduce volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) and methane emissions from a landfill located at Cytec’s facility. Under the settlement, Cytec will conduct emissions monitoring of the landfill and subsequently design and implement a system to capture and control 75 percent of VOCs and methane emissions from the landfill. This system could result in emissions reductions of up to 2,500 tons of methane and 6 tons of VOCs.

Exposure to formaldehyde can result in respiratory symptoms, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Exposure to methanol can result in blurred vision, headache, dizziness, and nausea. Formaldehyde and methanol are also volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog). Exposure to ground level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion. Exposure to ground level ozone can also exacerbate conditions associated with bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Cytec has informed EPA that it has stopped the production of spray dried resins and will dismantle the resin production line. The company still maintains storage vessels for other production lines and has submitted a revised operating plan for them.

More information:

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EPA clean air enforcement in New England (epa.gov/ne/enforcement/air/index.html)

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