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Coating Emissions Cost Fabricator $60K

Monday, June 23, 2014

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A Wisconsin metal fabricator will pay $60,000 for self-reported excessive emissions of toluene and xylene in its coating process.

Merrill Fab Inc. reported to state authorities that it violated state law from October 2009 through July 2010 when it exceeded its emissions limits for hazardous air pollutants, according to a civil complaint filed by the State of Wisconsin on behalf of its Department of Natural Resources.

The judgment, announced Tuesday (June 17), requires Merrill Fab to pay $60,000 in forfeitures and court costs for violating its state air-pollution-control permit and state air-pollution laws.

Merrill Fab

Merrill Fab will pay $60,000 for self-reported violations of air pollution laws from its coating process.

Merrill Fab is the manufacturing division and metal fabrication facility of AGRA Industries Inc. in Merrill, WI.

Reducing Emissions

At Merrill Fab, surface rust and scale are removed from fabricated assemblies, which are then painted with a solvent-based primer and topcoat, according to the complaint.

"They have metal parts and they're painting them with materials that they use, liquid materials, and then the toluene and xylene are carriers, so that evaporates off from the systems, so it wafts out into the air and disperses," Neil Baudhuin, with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, explained to

Baudhuin said Merrill Fab had worked with its paint supplier to modify the composition of the coatings and reduce emissions. He said that investigating and confirming all of the emissions took time, which is why it took nearly five years to process the violation.

The company has been in compliance since August 2010, officials said.

'Major Source' for HAPs

Air pollution control permits are issued by the Wisconsin DNR. Conditions in the permits protect public health by restricting emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including toluene and xylene.

Merrill Fab has been in compliance since August 2010.

Merrill Fab is classified as a "major source" ofhazardous air pollutants under Wisconsin's air pollution control laws, because it has the potential to emit 25 tons per year or more of any combination of hazardous air pollutants.

According to the Attorney General's office, Merrill Fab has cooperated to resolve the enforcement action expeditiously.


Tagged categories: Air pollution control; Emissions; Hazardous air pollutants; Metals; Xylene

Comment from Steve Brunner, (6/23/2014, 8:11 AM)

It is unfortunate that in this day people are still oblivious to the regulations, as I think was the case here. In dealing with the DNR in the past, reporting review should have flagged for a visit which would have informed the fabricator of applicable regulations. What we can learn from this is producers are knowledgeable of the regulations where many applicators are not.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (6/23/2014, 11:20 AM)

Some people may well be oblivious to regulations. So far this year alone the federal govt has issued over 70,000 pages of regulations. Last year they issued over 110,000 pages. Now, all you up to date business owners have read every one of those pages haven't you? Any of you who have not are probably oblivious to them I am sure.

Comment from Gary Burke, (6/24/2014, 1:44 PM)

It would be a whole lot better for everyone if the rules and regulations wer put in simple to understand terms so everyone could comply more easily. Instead of making a rediculous amount of documents, supply a condensed set and have a committee of well trained people to provide answers to businesses for compliance ease. Save the taxpayers the 100's of thousands of dollars spent on documents and provide a service that in the end, costs all of us less!

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