HBD/Thermoid Inc. has agreed to pay a $130,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at its facility in Chanute, Kan. As part of its settlement agreement with EPA Region 7, the company will spend an additional $241,075 to complete two supplemental environmental projects.
The settlement stems in part from air sampling conducted in Chanute that showed increased levels of toluene. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) previously had responded with a similar enforcement action against HBD/Thermoid Inc. for toluene emissions violations. However, due to continuing and ongoing violations by HBD/Thermoid Inc., KDHE referred the additional violations to EPA in 2011.
An EPA/KDHE investigation into area sources for toluene showed that HBD/Thermoid Inc. has the highest levels of toluene emissions. The company violated federal CAA regulations by not complying with 12-month rolling averages for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) emission limits between January 2011 and March 2012. The company is a major source of HAPs, with the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of toluene.
“Working with KDHE, EPA Region 7 was able to bring a repeat violator into compliance and facilitate its supplemental environmental projects, which will result in cleaner air for people living and working in the Chanute area,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said.
HBD/Thermoid Inc. will complete two supplemental environmental projects valued at $241,075 as a part of the settlement. The company will purchase and install an emission capture and control system to reduce certain HAP emissions by approximately 97 percent. The second supplemental environmental project will substitute non-HAP or low-HAP containing solvents for toluene and other HAP-containing solvents in its manufacturing areas and solvent shed, resulting in an approximate 93 percent annual emissions reduction.
Toluene is an organic liquid with a sweet, benzene-like odor. HBD/Thermoid Inc. primarily uses toluene as a solvent in its fabric-coating operation as part of its hose and duct manufacturing process. Other industry uses include the use of toluene in the production of benzene and urethane. Long-term exposure to toluene may result in damage to the nervous system, kidneys, or liver.
By agreeing to the settlement, HBD/Thermoid Inc. has certified that it is in compliance with the CAA and all of its requirements.