FMC Agrees to Pay $85,000 Civil Penalty to Settle EPA Air Quality Case
Release Date: 09/07/2006
Contact Information: Kevin Schanilec, (206)553-1061/ firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203/ email@example.com
(Seattle, Washington – September 7, 2006) The owners of the FMC Idaho LLC elemental phosphorous facility, located just west of Pocatello, Idaho, have agreed to pay an $85,000 penalty to settle federal Clean Air Act violations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Company ceased production of phosphorous from raw ore in 2001, but continued to process smaller amounts of phosphorous material as the plant was being decommissioned. Since the alleged infractions, the Company has continued to decommission and dismantle the facility.
According to Jim Werntz, EPA’s Idaho office director in Boise, plant operators needed to be especially diligent in terms of protecting air quality while they decommissioned and decontaminated phosphorus-laden debris.
“It’s a matter of being a responsible corporate neighbor,” said EPA’s Werntz. “Plant operators were required to regularly test the emissions from an air pollution control “scrubber” to control particulate matter. And it just didn’t happen.”
Documents associated with this legal action reveal four specific violations cited by EPA:
• FMC did not perform the tests in the time required
• FMC did not notify EPA of the planned tests (as required).
• FMC failed a test due to excessive emissions.
• FMC failed to promptly notify EPA of the test failure.
At the height of its operations in Pocatello, the FMC plant produced approximately 250 million pounds of elemental phosphorus per year from two million tons of shale, silica, and coke. The elemental phosphorus was sold and used in a variety of products from cleaning compounds to foods. Ore was shipped to the plant in railcars and stockpiled at the plant. The primary by-products from the production process were slag (stored on-site), ferrous-phosphate residuals, carbon monoxide and several aqueous waste streams.
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