North / South America
Feds fine East Chicago firm for air pollution
Aug, 17 2012
(Chicago) -- An asphalt manufacturing firm on the city's southeast side was fined this week by federal regulators for violating national and state air pollution laws.
In addition to the $10,000 civil penalty, Asphalt Cutbacks Inc. was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to install collection equipment for fugitive emissions from its 3000 Gary Road facility at a cost of at least $84,500.
The order by the EPA alleges the company violated the federal Clean Air Act and terms of its state operating permit by underestimating the quantities of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter released from process tanks on its 2.6 acre site.
Volatile organic compounds are a cause of ground-level ozone, which can irritate the human respiratory system and reduce lung function, according to the EPA, and particulate matter contributes to respiratory problems, lung damage and premature deaths.
Investigators also cited the firm for visible emissions from open hatches on asphalt storage tanks at the Gary Road plant.
The privately owned company blends granular asphalt with petroleum distillates to form pourable materials known as cutbacks at the East Chicago site, which opened in 1994, as well as other asphalt products for roofing and industrial uses.
Under terms of the order, the firm must design and install duct work to collect all fugitive emissions from its eight asphalt storage tanks and vent the emissions to an approved collection package for control.
The company remains on the EPA Clean Air Act Watch List maintained by the agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
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