Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 filed an administrative complaint against Honeywell International for violation of federal laws on the reporting of hazardous chemical releases and proposed a $144,469 fine.
The complaint is based on two separate incidents. On Feb. 5, 1998, at about 10:30 p.m., a fire broke out at Honeywell''s tar plant on Zug Road in Detroit that released 7,000 to 8,000 gallons of coal tar. Coal tar contains the hazardous chemicals benzo(a)pyrene and dibenz(a,h)anthracene, which, when heated, can volatilize into clouds.
Both benzo(a)pyrene and dibenz(a,h)anthracene are suspected carcinogens. Prolonged exposure to coal tar fumes, vapors or dust can cause irritation or burning to the eyes or respiratory tract. Ingestion of coal tar may cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract, nausea and vomiting.
Federal laws require immediate notification to the National Response Center, the state emergency response commission and the local emergency planning committee - in this case, the Detroit Fire Department. The facility notified the NRC and the state emergency response commission about 9:00 a.m. the following morning. In addition, required written follow-up reports to the state emergency response commission and the local emergency planning committee were also filed late, seven days after the incident.
The second incident, also involving a fire and the release of about 4,500 pounds of coal tar, occurred on Dec. 17, 1999, at about 5:50 p.m. The NRC and state emergency response commission were notified at least two hours late. Written follow-up reports to the state emergency response commission and the local emergency planning committee were also filed late, some 35 days after the incident.
by Sandy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)