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EPA and DOJ reach agreement with Vertellus on Clean-Air Violations

Release Date: 08/25/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254,omohundro.william@epa.gov

For Immediate Release
No. 09-OPA160

(Chicago, Ill. - Aug. 25, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement with Vertellus Agriculture and Nutrition Specialties L.L.C. on alleged clean-air violations at the company’s agricultural and nutritional chemical plant at 1500 S. Tibbs Ave., Indianapolis, Ind.

The agreement, which includes a $425,000 penalty and a $705,000 environmental project, resolves EPA allegations that Vertellus failed to comply with leak detection and repair requirements of the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants.

Vertellus has already taken steps to come back into compliance by installing a new incinerator to control hydrogen cyanide and benzene emissions and to implement a comprehensive set of leak detection and repair practices that go beyond regulatory requirements.

The leak detection and repair practices include an innovative program to replace valves with new low-leak valve technology and to monitor and repair equipment that is leaking at a lower rate than is required by regulations to further reduce fugitive hazardous air pollutant emissions.

For its environmental project, Vertellus has agreed to complete a two-year process to upgrade pumps with technology that will eliminate fugitive emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans, and hydrogen cyanide may cause nausea, headaches and thyroid damage.

A notice of the agreement will soon be published in the Federal Register. The public will have 30 days to comment on the agreement after the notice is published. A copy of the consent decree can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/narkp2.

Information on 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 www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints.

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