Formosa Plastics Corp. USA has agreed to pay a $300,000 fine and fund $4 million in air and water safety improvements near its plastic and chemicals plant in Baton Rouge, La.
The projects were detailed in an Oct. 9 news release from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, which negotiated the settlement with Livingston, N.J.-based Formosa. The projects include:
* $750,000 for technology aimed at reducing the release of toxic chemicals into the air by 4 million pounds per year.
* $250,000 for field technicians to inspect sanitary waste-water treatment systems in the area.
* $100,000 to eliminate the plant's normal use of well water, except potable use by employees.
Formosa spokesman Rob Thibault said Oct. 16 that the firm ``admits to no wrongdoing'' in the settlement, but agreed to the fine and improvements because they are ``in the best interest of the state, the company and the environment.''
Thibault added that all of the improvements should be completed by mid-2005. The settlement arose from a number of citations from LDEQ inspections of the site dating back to 1999, he said. The improvements are in addition to ``immediate corrective actions'' that were taken when the citations originally were reported, Thibault said.
Formosa employs 380 full-time workers and 125 contractors in Baton Rouge, where it operates 600 million pounds of annual capacity for suspension PVC resin, in addition to producing PVC feedstocks ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer.
Formosa, North America's third-largest PVC maker, also produces chlorine byproduct caustic soda and generates electricity at the site. Its other PVC works are in Point Comfort, Texas; Delaware City, Del.; and Illiopolis, Ill.