MassDEP was notified by Solutia of a permit violation resulting in excess emissions to the ambient air. The emissions were due to the bypass of an emission control device. The emissions lasted for 347 days and were the result of blocking off of an inlet to a storage tank condenser during a routine cleaning. Other noncompliance at the company's facility included a failure to conduct a visual inspection for pump leaks during the week of December 18, 2011, and failure to calibrate the biofilter flow and pressure-drop indicators during December 2011.
As part of a consent agreement with MassDEP, Solutia is required to correct the violations and pay the $33,000 penalty. MassDEP has agreed to suspend $6,000 of the penalty pending the company's compliance with the terms of the agreement.
"While it is understandable that some things may fall through the cracks in a plant as large and complex as Solutia, these violations were largely preventable. A finer eye to detail during inspection and audits should have caught this earlier," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield.