Enforcement

Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc. - Settlement

(Washington, DC - December 3, 2012) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced that Ohio-based Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., the nation’s largest glass container manufacturer, has agreed to install pollution control equipment to reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM) by nearly 2,500 tons per year and pay a $1.45 million penalty to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at five of the company’s manufacturing plants.

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Overview of Company and Facility Location

Owens-Brockway is the largest glass container manufacturing company in the United States, producing glass containers primarily for the food and beverage industry. The company currently operates 19 glass container manufacturing plants in 14 states. The company is headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio.

The settlement covers the following 5 facilities owned by the company:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Clarion, Pennsylvania
  • Crenshaw, Pennsylvania
  • Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • Waco, Texas

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Violations

The Complaint alleges that Owens-Brockway constructed or made modifications to furnaces at the company’s facilities, resulting in increased emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM), without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment, in violation of:

  • The Clean Air Act (CAA) Nonattainment New Source Review, Prevention of Significant Deterioration, and Title V permitting requirement provisions, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7470-7492, 7501-7511f, 7661-7661f.
  • The State Implementation Plans (SIPs) in each of the states where the facilities are located, 42 U.S.C §7410.

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Injunctive Relief

Owens-Brockway will spend an estimated $37.5 million on controls to reduce emissions of NOx, SO2, and PM and to install continuous emissions monitors. Owens-Brockway made an independent business decision to close the Clarion facility and 2 furnaces at the Atlanta facility.

NOx Controls

  • Installation of a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) unit on 3 furnaces located at the Waco facility.
  • Installation of oxygen-enriched air staging (OEAS) on 6 furnaces (2 at the Atlanta facility, 2 at the Crenshaw facility, and 2 at the Muskogee facility).
  • Surrender of shutdown credits from the Clarion facility as well as the 2 furnaces at the Atlanta facility.
  • Installation of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) on all operating furnaces at the 5 facilities covered by the settlement.
  • The furnaces will be subject to NOx emissions limits of 1.20 pounds per ton of glass pulled (for furnaces with SCR), or a range of 1.90 – 3.50 pounds per ton (for furnaces with OEAS).

SO2 Controls

  • Installation of a dry scrubber system for 3 furnaces located at the Waco facility.
  • The three affected furnaces will be subject to SO2 emissions limits of 0.80 pounds per ton of glass pulled.
  • Installation of CEMS on all operating furnaces at the 5 facilities covered by the settlement.

PM Controls

  • Installation of an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) on 3 furnaces located at the Waco facility.
  • The three furnaces will be subject to filterable PM limits of 0.20 pounds per ton of glass pulled.

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Pollutant Reductions

This settlement will result in the following estimated emissions reductions once all emissions controls and emissions-reduction practices have been implemented:

  • Nitrogen Oxides: 2,007 tons per year (tpy)
  • Sulfur Dioxide: 466 tpy

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Health Effects and Environment Benefits

NOx, SO2, and PM all have adverse effects on human health and the environment, as discussed below:

  • Nitrogen Oxides– NOx can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems and adverse environmental impacts such as visual impairment, water quality deterioration, ground-level ozone, acid rain, and global warming. Affected populations include children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside.
  • Sulfur Dioxide – High concentrations of SO2 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 and visibility impairment.
  • Particulate Matter – Particulate matter, especially the fine particles, can travel deep into a person’s lungs, causing coughing, decreased lung function, chronic bronchitis, and even death. Sensitive populations include the elderly, children, and people with pre-existing heart or lung disease. Particulate matter also contributes to haze which can affect visibility, and causes outdoor monuments and structures to become dirty.

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Environmental Mitigation

Owens-Brockway will spend an additional $200,000 to mitigate excess emissions at the Atlanta plant by working with the Georgia Retrofit Program to retrofit diesel school buses or fleet vehicles with controls to reduce emissions or assisting with the purchase of new natural gas, propane, or hybrid vehicles. 

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Civil Penalty

Owens-Brockway will pay a $1.45 million civil penalty. $1,208,000 of the penalty will be paid to the United States and the remaining $242,000 will be paid to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

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State and Regional Partners

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality joined the United States in this consent decree with Owens-Brockway.

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Comment Period

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

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For more information, contact:

Melanie Shepherdson
Air Enforcement Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW MC 2242A
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-8386 phone
(202) 564-0068 fax
sheperdson.melanie@epa.gov

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