DuPont Accepts $800K EPA Fine

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013


Coatings chemical giant DuPont has agreed to pay an $800,000 fine and add several programs to settle long-running federal allegations of air-pollution violations at its massive Washington Works facility in West Virginia.

A proposed deal announced Monday (Oct. 28) by the Environmental Protection Agency would resolve violations of the Clean Air Act dating to 2007. The 1,200-acre Washington Works site, which includes 14 divisions, has produced a variety of polymer products since 1948.

The allegations accused DuPont of failure to:

  • Monitor pumps, valves, and connectors;
  • Calibrate monitoring equipment;
  • Identify and report equipment containing hazardous air pollutants (HAPs);
  • Close open-ended lines containing HAPs; and
  • Conduct required pressure tests at the plant.

The site, in Washington, WV, is DuPont's second-largest manufacturing facility in the world, plant manager Karl Boelter told the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

Auditing VOC Emissions

The enforcement action is part of EPA's national initiative to reduce emissions of HAPs by enforcing compliance with the Clean Air Act's Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) regulations. The act requires industrial facilities to implement an LDAR program to monitor and audit VOC emissions.

Leaking equipment such as valves, pumps and connectors is the largest source of emissions of hazardous air emissions from chemical manufacturers and petroleum refineries, according to EPA. Facilities subject to LDAR requirements must regularly monitor equipment containing HAPs to promptly identify and fix leaks.

In a civil complaint, the EPA and West Virginia alleged several violations of LDAR safeguards at the Washington Works facility.

Leak and Repair Detection
EPA's LDAR Guide

According to EPA, leaking equipment is the largest source of hazardous air emissions from chemical manufacturers and petroleum refineries.

DuPont agreed to pay an $800,000 civil penalty and implement safeguards to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, methanol and acetal, according to EPA. The $800,000 penalty will be divided equally between the United States and West Virginia.

The proposed settlement was filed in federal district court in Charleston, WV, by the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Washington Works is committed to compliance with the terms of the Consent Decree and in operating our facility consistent with our core values," a DuPont spokesperson said on Tuesday (Oct. 29).

Implementing Safeguards

The proposed consent decree includes injunctive relief measures that DuPont must implement related to leak detection and repair, including:

  • Commissioning an independent third-party audit of the facility;
  • Preparing a detailed LDAR manual covering all regulated process units at the facility;
  • Implementing an LDAR training program;
  • Instituting a two-year enhanced LDAR program; and
  • Conducting quarterly QA/QC reviews and annual audits of the program to monitor compliance with the consent decree.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

   

Tagged categories: Clean Air Act; DuPont; Emissions; Enforcement; Environmental Controls; EPA; Hazardous air pollutants; VOC emissions

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