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EPA reaches agreement with Mercury Marine on clean-air violations

Release Date: 06/10/2008
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 08-OPA104

CHICAGO (June 9, 2008) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Mercury Marine Division of Brunswick Corp. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's secondary aluminum production plant that makes boat motors at W6250 Pioneer Road, Fond du Lac, Wis.

The agreement, which includes a $25,000 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Mercury Marine violated a May 2005 consent order requiring it to operate its equipment in compliance with EPA regulations. EPA said the company had disclosed in a letter sent last July that it had used non-clean charge in its furnaces.

Secondary aluminum facilities can emit excessive amounts of hydrocarbons, particulates, dioxins and furans when they use non-clean charge in their furnaces.

Hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog). Smog is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Smog can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.

There is evidence that dioxins may cause liver damage and probably cause cancer in humans, while furans may also cause cancer.

Information about 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 http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints.

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