An Occidental Chemical Corp. PVC factory in Pennsylvania may be the first facility targeted by a new Environmental Protection Agency review of pollution in the plastics industry.
The EPA announced Oct. 2 that it was issuing 13 complaints against the Pottstown, Pa., plant for vinyl chloride emissions that violated the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Vinyl chloride is a carcinogen.
Officials of Dallas-based OxyChem declined to comment.
The agency alleges that the company released waste water with vinyl chloride in excess of legal limits, failed to demonstrate that it was meeting vinyl chloride limits in effluent and did not report a May 2002 vinyl chloride release immediately.
EPA also said the company under-reported hydrochloric acid emissions in 1997 and VC and ammonia emissions in 2001. Although the complaint did not specify a financial penalty, the company faces fines of up to $27,500 per violation per day.
The inspection, which took place in January, is part of a program to reduce what environmental officials call ``media shifting,'' in which toxic emissions are moved from one medium, such as a release to the air, to another medium, like water, either intentionally or inadvertently.
Several EPA regional offices are participating, but the Philadelphia regional office is leading. A spokesman for that office said it was the first complaint that office has brought. Officials with the other participating offices said they did not know of any action in their regions.
The program targets the plastics foam and resin manufacturing industries, along with industrial organic chemicals. It aims to reduce emissions of VC and five other toxins.