Pipe Plant Settles Lead Issues with EPA


A now defunct pipe production plant will pay almost $1 million dollars and take steps to lower its lead emissions in an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Griffin Pipe Products LLC reached an agreement with the EPA to settle violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act at its now closed Council Bluffs, Iowa, facility.

The company has agreed to lower its lead emissions and pay a $950,000 civil penalty. The facility has ceased production, but if it ever reopens, the settlement requires Griffin Pipe to lower its lead air pollution emissions. The Council Bluffs area is currently designated as nonattainment for the lead national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS).

The Griffin Pipe Council Bluffs location was closed earlier this year, after the company was acquired by Birmingham, AL-based U.S. Pipe, according to media reports.

582 Days of Pollutants

In 2009, Griffin Pipe conducted stack tests at its facility, and all three tests exceeded lead emiission limits established in its Air Quality Construction Permit and Title V Operating Permit. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources then referred the matter to the EPA.

Additional testing in 2009 revealed that particulate matter emissions also exceeded permitted levels, according to the EPA. The EPA issued a Notice of Violation to Griffin Pipe in 2010.

The company violated the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging untreated process wastewater to the city's wastewater collection system from at least April 2007 until April 2008. The discharges exceeded the effluent limits for lead and zinc, the EPA said.

The EPA issued an administrative order to the company in March 2011 for violations of its storm water permit.

According to the EPA, Griffin Pipe also violated its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by discharging zinc, lead, copper and other pollutants in violation of its permit levels for at least 582 days between 2006 and 2011.

Certified Compliance

The company has installed a $14 million baghouse that eliminated the majority of pollutants in its wastewater discharges and significantly improved air emissions.

Griffin Pipe has certified that it is now in compliance with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The consent agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period before it becomes final.


Tagged categories: Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Environmental Controls; EPA; North America; Pipes; Regulations

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