Enforcement

Invista Audit Settlement

(Washington, D.C. - April 13, 2009) Invista will pay a $1.7 million civil penalty and spend up to an estimated $500 million to correct self-reported environmental violations discovered at facilities in seven states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced today. The company disclosed more than 680 violations of water, air, hazardous waste, emergency planning and preparedness, and pesticide regulations to EPA after auditing 12 facilities it acquired from DuPont in 2004.

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Overview of Company

INVISTA S.à.r.l. (INVISTA) is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas and wholly owned by INVISTA B.V., a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. (Koch). On April 30, 2004, subsidiaries of Koch acquired INVISTA from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont). The transaction involved over forty sites worldwide.

Twelve facilities are located in the United States:

Delaware - Seaford
Georgia - Athens, Calhoun, and Dalton
North Carolina - Kinston
South Carolina - Camden
Tennessee - Chattanooga
Texas - LaPorte, Orange, and Victoria
Virginia - Martinsville and Waynesboro

These facilities primarily manufacture two types of products:

  • Intermediates (i.e., chemical products used internally and sold to customers for use in the manufacture of nylon polymer)
  • Fibers (e.g., nylon, spandex and LYCRA® fiber) sold to customers engaged primarily in the apparel, carpet, and automotive industries.

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Background

As part of a corporate-wide auditing agreement under EPA's Audit Policy, INVISTA self-disclosed over 680 violations of water, air, hazardous waste, emergency planning and preparedness, and pesticide regulations to EPA after auditing the 12 facilities it acquired from DuPont in the United States. EPA's Audit Policy provides incentives to companies that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, expeditiously correct and prevent future environmental violations. Consistent with the Audit Policy, EPA waived the gravity component (which reflects such factors such as the nature and magnitude of the violation, potential or actual harm, good faith efforts to comply, and a company's ability to pay) of the civil penalty. Under this settlement -- the largest under EPA's Audit Policy -- INVISTA will spend between $240 and $500 million to correct environmental violations discovered at facilities in seven states.

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Emissions Reductions

Tons per year (tpy) of emissions reductions resulting from compliance actions at Invista's 12 facilities:

  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx): estimated at least 3,812 tpy (and up to an additional 650 tpy depending on feasibility of controls at Victoria, TX)
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2): estimated 5,826 tpy
  • Particulate Matter (PM): estimated 287 tpy
  • Benzene emissions will be reduced by an estimated 9 tons annually; benzene will be eliminated from process wastewater by an estimated 25 to 750 tpy

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Injunctive Relief

In addition to the hundreds of corrective actions already taken by INVISTA as part of its audit, the Consent Decree addresses three types of Clean Air Act violations disclosed by INVISTA:

  • Prevention of Significant Deterioration/New Source Review (PSD/NSR) violations at its Seaford, Camden, Chattanooga, and Victoria facilities
  • A New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) violation at its Orange facility
  • Violations of benzene National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) requirements at its Victoria and Orange facilities

PSD/NSR Relief:

Seaford, Delaware Facility: INVISTA has two options to control NOx and PM emissions by May 1, 2009, and SO2 emissions by January 1, 2010 at three of its coal-fired boilers:

  1. INVISTA must limit the emissions from three of its coal-fired boilers to 598 tons NOx and 1446 tons of SO2 on a 12-month rolling average basis through the installation of a combination of pollution controls on two of its boilers, including:

    Mobotec with Rotamix (a second generation Over Fire Air (OFA) system that achieves emission reductions similar to those derived from selective non-catalytic reduction) designed to reduce NOx emissions by 65%,

    A dry scrubber designed to reduce SO2 emissions by 90%, and in-duct scrubbing designed to reduce SO2 emissions by 50%; two of its boilers will have a PM limit of 0.015 lbs/mmBTU (pound/million British thermal units of heat input).

  1. INVISTA must control NOx, SO2, and PM by ceasing to use coal at the Seaford boilers through installation of a natural gas-fired boiler and switching the existing boilers to burn only low-sulfur fuel oil for a maximum of four months. Under this option emissions ae limited to 118 tons of NOx and 353 tons of SO2 on a 12-month rolling average basis. INVISTA is also required to limit sulfur content in all vaporizer fuel to 1%.

Camden, South Carolina Facility: INVISTA will limit two of its boilers to a combined NOx emissions limit of 202 tons on a 12-month rolling average basis by converting one boiler to natural gas controlled with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, and installing Mobotec with Rotamix designed to reduce NOx emissions by 65% on an additional boiler. SO2 from the natural gas boiler will be limited to 1 ton on a 12-month rolling average basis. INVISTA has also committed to limit sulfur content in all vaporizer fuel to 1%.

Chattanooga, Tennessee Facility: INVISTA may elect, within four years of the effective date of the Consent Decree, to either control or shut down three of its coal-fired boilers. During this election period, INVISTA will reduce its annual emissions of NOx and SO2 by 25%; at the end of this period, INVISTA must immediately cease operation of these boilers or install NOx and SO2 controls within 18 months. If INVISTA chooses to continue to operate these boilers and install controls, it has two options:

  1. Install in-duct scrubbing designed to achieve a 50% reduction of SO2 emissions on two boilers and Mobotec designed to achieve a 50% reduction of NOx at three boilers in order to achieve a 12-month rolling average limit of 530 tons of SO2 and 194 tons NOx.
  1. Use a combination of technologies (conversion to natural gas, Mobotec, and/or in-duct scrubbing) to achieve a 12-month rolling average limit of 445 tons of SO2 and 160 tons of NOx. INVISTA is also required to use 95% natural gas and 0.3% sulfur content fuel in all vaporizers.

Victoria, Texas Facility: INVISTA will install selective non-catalytic reduction controls (SNCRs) on two of its six hazardous waste industrial boilers and will conduct a pilot study on the remaining boilers. Based on the results of the study, INVISTA will be required to install either SCR or SNCR control technology on the four remaining boilers. INVISTA will also install SCR control technology on its cogeneration unit which will have a 12-month rolling average NOx emissions limit of 85 tons.

Benzene NESHAP and LDAR Relief at Orange and Victoria Facilities

  • INVISTA will either upgrade control equipment or make major changes to its processes used to handle benzene and benzene-containing wastes to ensure continued compliance and minimization of benzene-containing wastes generated at the Victoria and Orange, Texas facilities. It is estimated that these actions will reduce air emissions of benzene by more than 9 tons annually and eliminate 25 to 750 tons per year of benzene from process wastewater.
  • INVISTA will minimize or eliminate fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds, benzene, and other volatile hazardous air pollutants at its Orange and Victoria facilities by enhancing its LDAR program.

NSPS Relief at Orange, Texas Facility

INVISTA will implement good air pollution practices to minimize emissions from the flare until it brings the flare down for either an upgrade of the flare tip or reconstruction of the flare in Orange, Texas.

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

When all injunctive relief measures are implemented, the settlement will result in substantial reductions (nearly 10,000 tons per year) of the following pollutants:

  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx) -- Can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems and adverse environmental impacts, such as ground-level ozone, acid rain, global warming, water quality deterioration, and visibility impairment. Children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside are susceptible to adverse effects such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function.
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2) -- In high concentrations, can affect breathing and may aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Sensitive populations include asthmatics, individuals with bronchitis or emphysema, children, and the elderly. SO2 is also a primary contributor to acid deposition, or acid rain.
  • Particulate matter (PM) -- In especially fine particles, PM contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. PM is linked to a variety of problems, including increased respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
  • Benzene -- Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to benzene may cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at high levels, unconsciousness. Chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure has caused various disorders in the blood, including reduced numbers of red blood cells and anemia in occupational settings. Reproductive effects have been reported for women exposed by inhalation to high levels, and adverse effects on the developing fetus have been observed in animal tests. Increased incidences of leukemia have been observed in humans occupationally exposed to benzene. EPA has classified benzene as a Group A human carcinogen.

The reductions of NOx, SO2, and PM in this settlement will achieve estimated annual health benefits of over $325 million and 30 fewer premature deaths.

For more information on NOx, SO2 and PM please visit EPA's Air Pollutants Web Site. Please visit benzene for hazard information.

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Civil Penalty

INVISTA will pay a civil penalty totaling $1.7 million with the U.S. receiving $850,000 and the co-plaintiffs receiving the balance of the penalty as follows: the State of Delaware will receive $500,000; the State of South Carolina will receive $250,000; and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board in Tennessee will receive $100,000.

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State Partners

EPA has collaborated with several states to achieve this settlement. Co-signatories to the Consent Decree are: the State of Delaware, the State of South Carolina, and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board in Tennessee.

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Information on EPA's Audit Policy

EPA may reduce or waive penalties for certain violations if the company meets the conditions of the policy. EPA's experience with INVISTA guided the development of its "Interim Approach to Applying the Audit Policy to New Owners (PDF)" (16 pp, 120 K, About PDF) (issued August 1, 2008) which is designed to encourage other new owners to make "clean starts" at their recently acquired facilities. For more information on EPA's Audit Policy. For more information on EPA's interim audit policy for new owners.

Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court of the District of Delaware, 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 additional information, contact:

Philip Milton
U.S. EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20460
(202) 564-5029
Philip Milton (milton.philip@epa.gov)