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Hercules, Inc., to Pay $245,521 Civil Penalty for Violations of Clean Air Act’s Leak Detection and Repair Requirements

Release Date: 09/08/2011
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394, whitley.christopher@epa.gov


Environmental News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 8, 2011) - Hercules, Inc., a Wilmington, Del., chemical company, has agreed to pay a $245,521 civil penalty to the United States for violating the Clean Air Act’s Leak Detection and Repair requirements at its manufacturing facility in Louisiana, Mo.

According to a stipulation of settlement and judgment filed today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Hercules violated the National Emission Standards for Organic Hazardous Air Pollutants for Equipment Leaks, which require chemical manufacturing facilities to implement Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs to control hazardous air pollutant emissions from equipment leaks.

EPA inspected the company’s Louisiana, Mo., manufacturing facility in 2007. At that time, the facility was using substances such as formaldehyde, pentaerythritol, methanol and acetaldehyde, all of which are classified as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

LDAR is a work practice designed to identify leaking equipment so that emissions can be reduced through timely repairs. A manufacturing facility that is subject to LDAR requirements must be monitored at specified, regular intervals to determine whether or not it is leaking. Any leaking component must then be repaired or replaced within a specific time frame to ensure that any potential leaks of air pollutants are timely detected and repaired.

This enforcement action was initiated as part of EPA’s national enforcement initiative into reducing fugitive air toxics emissions caused by facilities’ failures to comply with LDAR requirements. EPA has determined that leaking equipment such as valves, pumps and connectors are the largest source of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile hazardous air pollutants (VHAPs) from petroleum refineries and chemical manufacturers. VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. Ozone is a major component of smog and can cause or aggravate respiratory disease. Ozone also causes damage to forests and crops, fabric and exterior coatings such as oil and acrylic latex, oil coatings and automotive finishes. Some known or suspected effects of exposure to VHAPs include cancer, reproductive health problems, and birth defects.

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