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EPA Settlement with Follansbee Chemical Plant Will Improve Air Quality

Release Date: 05/23/2012
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA ( May 23, 2012) – A consent agreement and compliance order between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Koppers, Inc. will prevent the release of thousands of pounds of uncontrolled emissions of hazardous air pollutants from the Follansbee, W.Va. coal tar refining facility annually. The agreements require Koppers to install new equipment, conduct additional monitoring and pay a penalty of $75,000 for alleged violations of Clean Air Act requirements controlling emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

Under the settlement, Koppers will begin leak detection monitoring for 139 more facility components and include this additional monitoring in its West Virginia-issued Clean Air Act permit. These 139 components, which include valves, and connectors, link the facility’s air control device to four pesticide storage tanks. The tanks are already included in the plant’s leak detection and repair program. The changes will result in a reduction of 14,000 pounds of toxic air pollutants each year.

The settlement agreement resolves alleged violations including failure to properly calibrate the leak detection machinery when monitoring pumps; failure to monitor two components in the plant-wide leak detection and repair program; and failure to have a start-up, shutdown and malfunction plan for the components that link the facility's air control devise to pesticide storage tanks.

Cutting toxic air pollution is a national enforcement priority for EPA. Industrial and commercial facilities are required to implement leak detection and repair programs to control fugitive emissions of hazardous air pollutants. Fugitive emissions can come from valves, pumps, compressors, pressure relief valves, connectors and other piping components.

Hazardous air pollutants are also known as air toxics. In 1990, Congress identified 187 hazardous air pollutants that present significant threats to human health. These pollutants are known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health effects, such as reproductive or birth defects and can also cause adverse environmental and ecological effects. Hazardous air pollutants likely to be present at a coal tar refining facility include benzene, naphthalene. tolune and phenol.

For more information, go to: http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/monitoring/programs/caa/neshaps.html.