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The Suburbanite
  • Howden, EPA reach agreement

  • Howden North America Inc. has announced a settlement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding alleged violations of air pollution control requirements at its New Philadelphia facility. The allegations are related to three paint booths used in the facility at 338 S. Broadway to coat metal parts.

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  • Howden North America Inc. has announced a settlement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding alleged violations of air pollution control requirements at its New Philadelphia facility.
    The allegations are related to three paint booths used in the facility at 338 S. Broadway to coat metal parts. The majority of the allegations date to the previous owner of the facility.
    As a result of the settlement, Howden agreed to apply for new, updated air permits; properly maintain the facility’s emissions units in compliance with state and federal rules; keep better records; submit reports as required; and pay a civil penalty of $109,350. Of that amount, $21,870 will go to Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Program Fund to help retrofit older school buses with pollution control equipment, thereby reducing particulate emissions from their diesel engines and protecting children who ride the buses.
    The remaining $87,480 will be equally split between Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund and the administration of air pollution control programs.
    Howden employs 125 at its New Philadelphia location, which it purchased in 1997. The company relied on permit applications submitted by the prior owner and “registration status” approval issued by Ohio EPA.
    However, the company recently learned that coatings used at the facility did not match the previous applications.
    In the meantime, new air standards were issued, requiring additional recordkeeping and reporting.
    “Fortunately for all involved, the facility is the source of very low emissions, about five tons per year of volatile organic compounds,” said Pat Fleming, HNA environmental health and safety manager. “Most of the allegations related to paperwork oversights, not concerns about worker exposure or any type of exposure to the community. In fact, Howden has submitted a study demonstrating that it is operating the three paint booths in a manner that represents best available control technology.”
    Most of the allegations had to do with the company’s failure to submit reports and maintain appropriate records to demonstrate compliance with the new maximum achievable control technology standard. While the coatings used in the paint booths at times exceeded limitations on volatile organic content, Ohio EPA has determined that those coating limitations no longer apply because of the low usage at the facility.
    “We worked cooperatively with Ohio EPA to bring the air permits up to date with current standards that did not exist when we purchased the facility, as well as equipment improvements.  In addition, we continue to work on options to further reduce emissions,” Fleming added.