PVC resin maker Shintech Inc. and its K-Bin Inc. compounding unit will pay a federal fine of almost $2.6 million and will finance $9.5 million in related environmental projects at several sites in Texas.
Houston-based Shintech was fined for violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, according to a Dec. 1 news release from the Department of Justice.
The violations occurred at Shintech's manufacturing site in Freeport, Texas.
In Freeport, Shintech now will close a lagoon and drying bed that were not designed to handle hazardous waste. Shintech and K-Bin also will reduce emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants by replacing six refrigeration units at the site.
Those steps along with a series of audits and reviews are expected to cost Shintech $4.8 million. The firm also will spend $4.7 million on the following projects:
* Adding at least 300 acres of forest and wetlands to the Columbia Bottomlands preserve in Austin, Texas. The preserve is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
* Creating a recycling program in Houston to pick up and recycle appliances containing ozone-depleting refrigerants. This program will be provided at no cost to Houston residents.
* Reducing PVC-related emissions in Freeport by 10,000 pounds per year.
``This agreement will ensure corrective action is taken and provide added benefits to the environment through supplemental projects,'' Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Richard Greene said in the release.
``We have been working with EPA for many months to resolve these issues without litigation,'' Shintech Freeport site manager Jim Hodges said in a statement. ``We regret these alleged violations and fully recognize the need for vigilant compliance with environmental regulations.
``We are committed to meet all of our regulatory responsibilities and make sure something like this does not happen again at any of our facilities.''
Shintech is wholly owned by Shin-Etsu Inc. of Tokyo, which ranks as the world's largest PVC maker. Shintech has operated in Freeport since 1974, with K-Bin production launching in 1986.