US Honeywell agrees to $3m fine in Virginia plant pollution case

28 March 2013 23:34  [Source: ICIS news]

US Honeywell agrees to $3m fine in Virginia plant pollution caseHOUSTON (ICIS)--Honeywell Resins and Chemicals has agreed to pay a $3m (€2.34m) civil penalty for alleged Clear Air Act violations at its Hopewell, Virginia, plant, as well as improve the facility’s air pollution control equipment and processes, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Thursday.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the plant exceeded limits on emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter.

The plant, which is the world’s largest producer of caprolactam and ammonium sulphate fertilizer, also allegedly failed to comply with requirements to upgrade its air pollution control equipment, to detect and repair leaks of hazardous air pollutants and to develop safeguards on benzene waste.

Honeywell spokesperson Peter Dalpe pointed out that the company as part of the agreement does not admit to any of the allegations.

“Honeywell is committed to the highest standards of environmental compliance and sustainability at every one of our facilities,” Dalpe said.

In addition to the civil penalty, Honeywell has agreed to reduce air pollutants, install selective catalytic reduction at four production trains at the facility, conduct a third-party benzene waste operations audit and implement an enhanced leak detection and repair programme at the facility, the DOJ said.

US-based Honeywell will also perform a mitigation project valued at approximately $1m at the facility. The settlement reduces annual emissions of NOx by about 6,260 tons and cuts annual emissions of benzene, other VOCs and hazardous air pollutants by 100 tons, the DOJ said.

“Upgrades to these systems are already underway,” Dalpe said.

“During the past five years, Honeywell’s total capital investment in Hopewell has exceeded $170m, including important projects that directly support our health, safety and environmental commitments. These investments have resulted in our improved performance in these areas, and we continue to strive for excellence at all of our facilities,” he said.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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