Enforcement

Ineos ABS USA/Lanxess Clean Air Act Settlement

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 31, 2009) The former and current owners and operators of a chemical facility in Addyston, Ohio, LANXESS Corp. and INEOS ABS USA Corp., have agreed to pay a $3.1 million civil penalty and INEOS will spend up to $2 million to install environmental controls and modify operating procedures to resolve violations of multiple environmental laws, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

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Overview of Company and Location of Facilities

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Ohio jointly brought an action against Ineos ABS USA Corporation (Ineos), the current owner of a polymer facility located in Addyston, Ohio, and Lanxess Corporation (Lanxess), the previous owner and operator of the facility. The facility manufactures plastics and resins, using acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene, which are hazardous air pollutants.

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Violations

The Complaint alleges various violations under the Clean Air Act (CAA) including: (1) exceedances of emission limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) under the Ohio State Implementation Plan; (2) violations of regulations relating to required heat content of the flare and the facility's Title V permit control efficiency requirement; and (3) violations of leak detection and repair (LDAR) regulations. The complaint also alleges Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know (EPCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) violations for delayed reporting of releases of hazardous substances to the National Response Center and state and local authorities.

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Connection to the Air Toxics Around Schools Initiative

As part of the air toxics monitoring initiative, EPA, state and local air pollution control agencies are monitoring the outdoor air around schools for air toxics. Air toxics are of potential concern because exposure to high levels of these pollutants over many decades could result in long-term health effects. The Meredith Hitchens Elementary School is located across the street from the facility. After malfunctions at the facility in late 2004 and early 2005 caused releases of butadiene and acrylonitrile and widespread community concern, Ohio initiated ambient air monitoring on the roof of the Meredith Hitchens Elementary School. This monitoring continues today. Due in part to concerns about children's exposure to the facility's emissions, the elementary school closed down indefinitely and its 370 students were moved to schools elsewhere. This settlement results in the reduction of air toxics at a facility whose emissions were previously identified as a potential risk to school children.

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Injunctive Relief

  • Flare Injunctive Relief
    • Ineos is required to meet the following parameters in order to ensure compliance with its Title V permit flare control efficiency requirement: (1) meet a steam-to-total gas ratio of 3.6:1 in the combustion zone; (2) meet 200 BTU after steam addition after the flame; (3) meet 385 BTU/scf in the waste gas prior to steam addition before the flame; (4) monitor the operating parameters of the flare; and (5) perform passive fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to evaluate the flare's control efficiency.
  • Enhanced Leak Detection and Repair Relief
    • INEOS has agreed to do enhanced LDAR injunctive relief, which includes: (1) developing a comprehensive facility-wide LDAR program; (2) providing additional training; (3) retaining third-parties to conduct LDAR audits and implementing corrective actions where audits show non-compliance; (4) monitoring and repairing valves, connectors, pumps, agitators, and open-ended lines that are leaking at a lower rate than the applicable regulatory leak standard in order to reduce fugitive emissions; (5) increasing the frequency of monitoring; (6) utilizing electronic data collection devices for all LDAR monitoring; and (7) undertaking more rigorous repair methods for leaking equipment before placing the equipment on a "delay of repair" list.
  • Acrylonitrile Injunctive Relief
    • Biofilter System - Ineos is required to install a Biofilter System at the facility's wastewater treatment facility to capture and control acrylonitrile emissions from areas including the facility's spill tank, aeration tanks, lift station, sludge pit, and Ineos is required to put covers on the tanks not previously covered. The Biofilter System will result in at least a 60% reduction of acrylonitrile emissions.
    • Scrubber - If a process line which is currently shut down reopens, Ineos will be required to install a scrubber and route the emissions from the scrubber to the facility's existing thermal oxidizer.
  • CERCLA/EPCRA Relief
    • Ineos will perform the following EPCRA/CERCLA injunctive relief to prevent future reporting violations: (1) revise its Spill Reporting Policy and develop an emergency release form; (2) perform a root cause analysis for each reportable quantity release of a hazardous substance or extremely hazardous substance, and perform any corrective measures; (3) conduct a comprehensive review of its compliance with EPCRA and CERCLA reporting requirements at the facility; and (4) review its training procedures for release reporting.

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Pollutant Reductions in Tons Per Year

There will be approximately 360 tons per year of butadiene emission reductions from the flare controls, approximately 1.1 tons per year of acrylontrile emission reductions from the Biofilter Project, and approximately 59.6 tons per year in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emission reductions from the LDAR relief.

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Health and Environmental Effects

EPA classifies acrylonitrile as a probable human carcinogen, and butadiene as a known human carcinogen by inhalation. Some of the effects associated with short-term inhalation exposure to acrylonitrile and butadiene are similar and include: irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract and central nervous system effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. In addition, VOCs contribute to the formation of ozone. Ozone has been shown to cause the reduction of lung function, respiratory symptoms, and increased lung inflammation. Ozone also causes damage to forests and crops, fabric, and exterior coatings such as oil and acrylic latex, oil coatings, and automotive finishes.

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Civil Penalty

Ineos and Lanxess are jointly and severally liable to pay a $3.1 million penalty, half of which will go to the United States and half of which will be divided between the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the local air pollution agency in Hamilton County.

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State Partners

EPA and the State of Ohio jointly brought the action against Ineos and Lanxess.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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For more information, contact:

Tahani Rivers
Air Enforcement Division
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (MC 2242A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6850
Tahani Rivers (rivers.tahani@epa.gov)

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