Formosa Plastics Corp. will spend more than $10 million on pollution controls to address air, water, and hazardous waste violations at petrochemical plants in Point Comfort, Texas, and Baton Rouge, La., the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
The company also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2.8 million to resolve violations under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Under the agreement, lodged in U.S. District Court in Victoria, Texas, both plants will implement a program that goes beyond regulatory requirements by requiring more stringent leak definitions, more frequent monitoring and monitoring and repair of additional chemical manufacturing equipment.
The program includes replacing valves with new low leak valve technology.
The Formosa facilities also will undertake an enhanced vinyl chloride leak detection and elimination program.
In a Sept. 29 news release, Formosa officials said that the firm disputes many of [EPA's] allegations and regulatory interpretations, but desires to move forward rather than pursuing the matter through litigation.
The decree specifically states that the company does not admit to any liability alleged in the complaint, they added.
Formosa officials also described the penalty amount as in line with agreements that have been signed by the other companies in the industry.
According to a news release from the Justice Department and EPA, this is the eighth settlement in a series of cases developed as part of EPA's enforcement effort to ensure environmental compliance in PVC manufacturing.
According to the release, this case was initiated after inspections conducted by EPA found extensive Clean Air Act leak detection and repair violations, including failing to properly monitor leaking components, failing to include chemical manufacturing equipment in its leak detection and repair program, and failing to timely repair leaking equipment. Inspectors also identified a variety of hazardous waste violations at both facilities.
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