North Carolina's Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources is scheduled to rule in December whether polyurethane foam maker Trinity American Corp. is meeting the conditions of its air and groundwater cleanup plan. The company has been closed twice this year for alleged toxic emissions. The Glenola, N.C., company, has operated under what state officials call a proposed consent order since April. The firm presented its case to make the conditions of the consent order permanent in a public hearing Sept. 23.
Lou Peters, executive director of the Wayne, N.J.-based Polyure-thane Foam Association, said Sept. 25 that a state health officer would make a recommendation to the department Dec. 12 regarding Trinity's compliance.
Kevin Ours, environmental engineer with the toxins protection branch of the division of air quality of the state health department, said if the company complies with the proposed order, it will become permanent.
The firm now has limited hours it can pour PU foam, and must constantly monitor air quality in the plant's vicinity. If the state lifts the order, that would allow Trinity to operate on a more normal schedule, Peters said.
Trinity American officials were not available for comment.
Trinity - one of seven PU foam makers in North Carolina and the only one facing such a plan - would start in January to clean water and air around the plant if the order is made permanent. Trinity would be fined $1,000 a day for failing to meet the timetable. If the plant continues to comply with the order through next year, the state will not force the company to apply for a special permit, Ours said.
Some neighbors of the 19-year-old plant have blamed the facility for health problems. On orders of state health director Ronald Levine, the plant was closed for a week in April and again in July due to elevated toluene diisocyanate emissions outside the facility. Following the closure in April, the firm began monitoring TDI releases near the plant.
Jerry Drye, Trinity American's owner, has said he did not believe the company was at fault, but that the proposed program would clean up air and water and keep the firm's workers employed.