- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
On Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010, the EPA and the U.S. Justice Department jointly announced that Air Products LLC has agreed to pay nearly $1.5 million in civil penalties to resolve hazardous waste mismanagement violations at its Pasadena, Texas, chemical manufacturing facility. The settlement resolves RCRA violations in transferring spent acid to the neighboring Agrifos fertilizer manufacturing plant.
The company, a manufacturer of chemicals used in the manufacture of polyurethane and hydrogen gas, operates its facility on a 105-acre tract of property adjacent to the Agrifos fertilizer plant. For many years, the company purchased acid product from Agrifos and returned a spent acid stream that Air Products had used in its operations. In April 2006, inspectors from EPA and the Texas CEQ observed that the return acid stream was a spent acid that was being used to make land-applied fertilizer. Agrifos was not authorized to accept hazardous waste from other facilities.
In its press release, the EPA noted finding the case similar to parts of its enforcement program for mining. The company does not conduct mining or mineral processing, but it sent the spent acid stream to a facility that does – the Agrifos fertilizer plant.
As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to continue to manage the spent acid on-site and not ship it to Agrifos or any other facility not authorized to accept it.
The agency has, since 2003, stepped up its enforcement of the phosphoric acid industry because, according to the agency, of the high risk of releases of acidic wastewaters at these facilities, which can cause groundwater contamination and fish kills. A 2007 incident at the Agrifos phosphoric acid facility in Houston released 50 million gallons of acidic hazardous wastewater into the Houston Ship Channel.
More information on the settlement can be found at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/rcra/airproducts.html.