OxyVinyls LP will reduce the combined annual vinyl chloride emissions from its Pasadena and Deer Park, Texas, plants by more than 50 percent during the next five years under the terms of an enforceable consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Dallas-based company, a joint venture of Occidental Chemical Corp. and PolyOne Corp., is the largest producer of PVC resin in North American and third-largest PVC supplier worldwide. OxyChem owns 76 percent of the joint venture. Vinyl chloride is used to make PVC.
The agreement stems from discussions that began in 2004 concerning emissions from company plants in Louisville, Ky.; Pedricktown, N.J.; Deer Park; and Pasadena.
The settlement, reached June 8, is part of a larger EPA initiative aimed at reducing emissions of vinyl chloride, which EPA has classified as a known human carcinogen. EPA reached VC emission settlements in 2004 with OxyChem and in 2005 with the Delaware City, Del., plant of Formosa Plastics Corp., headquartered in Livingston, N.J.
In a statement, OxyVinyls said its VC emissions ``are currently well below permissible levels'' and that the agreement would ``further reduce vinyl chloride emissions'' at the four plants.
OxyVinyls spokesman Lawrence Meriage, in a telephone interview Aug. 8, said the company would spend $1.1 million for emission-reduction projects at the four plants.
``Among other things, we are redesigning stripper columns at both the Pasadena and Deer Park plants with the objective of reducing VC emissions by more than 50 percent,'' he said.
The consent agreement requires OxyVinyls to spend at least $964,000 to install new stripper trays and to redesign stripper columns to remove emissions from waste water at the Pasadena plant. EPA said the changes required at the four plants will ``permanently decrease'' vinyl chloride emissions by 40,000 pounds per year within five years
As part of the agreement, EPA said OxyVinyls will be required to meet a residual vinyl chloride monomer limit of 10 parts per million at Pasadena, a level far below regulatory requirements, and to conduct sampling of waste water at Pasadena to ensure that no hazardous waste enters the plant's surface impoundments.
The other projects are the addition of a railcar vapor unloading vacuum system at the Louisville facility to reduce VC emissions by 30 percent and the modification of two reactor vessels in Pedricktown. OxyVinyls also will conduct leak detection and repair monitoring tests on its two process lines in New Jersey in conjunction with regulations from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
``This settlement requires OxyVinyls to go beyond compliance and take immediate steps to reduce vinyl chloride emissions,'' said Richard E. Greene, regional administrator for EPA Region 6 in Dallas, which includes Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
OxyVinyls also has agreed to fund a $125,000 study to determine the source of dust and particulate deposition in and around a Camden, N.J., residential neighborhood and to pay $340,000 in total fines to the New Jersey EPA and the Louisville Metropolitan Air Pollution Control District for alleged violations, not related to VC emissions, that arose from self- disclosed internal audits that the firm submitted to EPA.
A class-action lawsuit charging OxyVinyls and two other companies in Louisville with emissions that endanger the health of residents was filed July 31 in U.S. District Court in Louisville.