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Two Companies to Pay $970,000 in Settlement for Clean Air Violations in Springfield, Mass.

Release Date: 12/20/2012
Contact Information: Paula Haschig, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 20, 2012) – Two companies operating a chemical plant in Springfield, Mass. will pay a penalty of $970,000 and take other actions, under a settlement announced today between Solutia Inc. and INEOS Melamines LLC, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement is contained in a consent decree filed today in federal court, and settles EPA claims for alleged Clean Air Act violations that occurred between 2003 and 2010 at the “Indian Orchard” chemical plant in Springfield, Mass. The violations involve leak detection and repair requirements (LDAR) contained in the plant’s federal and state operating permits for air pollution controls.

The specific violations alleged by EPA included the facility’s failure to: use suitable and/or properly calibrated leak detection instruments, identify unsafe and difficult to monitor equipment, implement a plant-wide leak detection and repair program, and properly report compliance in semi-annual certifications. The violations are covered under “MACT” standards under the federal Clean Air Act and state-issued permits, including a Title V Operating Permit. MACT standards are intended to control hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) through “maximum achievable control technology” for maximum emission reductions at major sources of HAPs like the Indian Orchard plant.

The Consent Decree requires the companies to pay a civil penalty of $970,000 and implement an enhanced leak detection and repair program at the Indian Orchard facility, in which they will perform monitoring of more equipment at greater frequencies than would otherwise be required under existing regulations. The enhanced program will help ensure future compliance and prevent further problems at the facility.

Solutia is a global manufacturer of various chemical and engineered materials used in a broad range of industrial and consumer applications. First established in 1997 by Pharmacia Corp. (then known as Monsanto Corp.), Solutia and INEOS owned and/or operated the primary Indian Orchard process line of concern in this case where the HAPs methanol and formaldehyde are used to produce melamine-formaldehyde resins for automobile paint coatings.

The Indian Orchard plant is situated on about 280 acres along the Chicopee River in Springfield, Mass.

“This settlement underscores the importance we place on pollution prevention as the best way to protect human health and our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It is critical that companies who work with hazardous air pollutants carefully adhere to all of the requirements of their operating permits, which help protect the public from unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful air emissions.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “The Department of Justice and the EPA are committed to enforcing our nation’s laws promoting environmental wellness and citizen safety. Today’s settlement enforcing the Clean Air Act will benefit not just the environment but also Indian Orchard Plant employees and anyone else at risk of coming into contact with hazardous air pollutants from the plant.”

More information:

- The Consent Decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on December 20, 2012, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Once it is published in the Federal Register, a copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html .

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