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Pennsylvania settles air complaints at Torrance State Hospital

Release Date: 9/23/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

Contact: Bonnie Smith (215) 815-5543
PHILADELPHIA – Two Pennsylvania state agencies have settled alleged Clean Air Act violations at Torrance State Hospital, located in Torrance, Westmoreland County, Pa., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

In a consent agreement with EPA, the Department of Public Welfare, which operates the psychiatric hospital, and the Department of General Services, the facility owner, agreed to pay a $28,940 penalty to resolve past violations of regulations designed to limit emissions of fine particulate matter. Particulate pollution has been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses, increased mortality, and reduced visibility.

EPA alleges that particulate emissions from hospital=s three coal-fired boilers exceeded limits in the facility=s state-issued Clean Air Act permit. The hospital allegedly violated permit conditions setting particulate emission limit of 0.4 pounds per million BTUs, and prohibiting emissions exceeding 60 percent opacity at any time, or exceeding 20 percent for more than three minutes in any hour. The alleged violations were documented in emission testing and monitoring in 2003.

After EPA issued a December 10, 2003 violation notice, the facility installed a replacement boiler to ensure lower emissions and compliance with applicable Clean Air Act requirements. Torrance has also permanently shutdown boiler number 5, their highest emitting boiler.

The settlement penalty reflects the Commonwealth=s prompt compliance efforts and cooperation with EPA.


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