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EPA reaches agreement with Strong Steel on clean-air violations

Release Date: 4/12/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA043

CHICAGO (Apr. 12, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Strong Steel Products LLC on alleged violations of EPA regulations to protect stratospheric ozone at the company's scrap metal processing plant at 6464 Strong St., Detroit, Mich. EPA assessed a $500,000 penalty.

The agreement resolves EPA allegations that Strong Steel failed to remove ozone-depleting chlorinated fluorocarbon refrigerants from junked motor vehicles and small appliances, or to get adequate verification that its scrap-metal suppliers had removed the refrigerants before disposal.

To remedy the problem, Strong Steel has built an auto processing facility to remove fluids, including CFCs, from incoming scrap cars and has revised its supplier verification statements. EPA estimates that in the past year the processing facility recovered at least 1,250 pounds of CFCs.

"This settlement is part of an EPA scrap-yard initiative in the Detroit area that is expected to significantly cut the release of CFCs there," said EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Norman Niedergang.

Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants deplete the stratospheric or "good" ozone layer, allowing dangerous amounts of cancer causing ultraviolet rays from the sun to strike the earth. Production of some of these chemicals was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

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