"This agreement will ensure cleaner, healthier air for people living near these facilities," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Thomas V. Skinner.
The agreement resolves an EPA complaint alleging violations at the facilities, including permit, recordkeeping, emissions and opacity violations. Opacity is the amount of light obscured by smoke and dust from a facility.
Environmental projects include performing air compliance audits and implementing compliance recordkeeping programs at all of Gerken's facilities, buying and installing pollution control equipment at some of its facilities and completing a paving project at one facility.
Companies that violate the Clean Air Act may voluntarily propose environmental projects as part of their settlements. EPA may reduce monetary penalties if it believes a project will cut pollution significantly and goes beyond what is required by EPA regulations.
The Ohio facilities affected by the agreement are in Sylvania, Napoleon, Swanton, Bluffton, Waterville, Flatrock, Paulding, Parkertown, West Milgrove, Rocky Ridge, Toledo, Custar and Port Clinton. Gerken's Monroe, Mich., facility was also affected.
Inhaling high concentrations of smoke and dust can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.