Thursday, March 7, 2013

Montgomery Chemicals to pay a $36,000 penalty for methanol emissions

Montgomery Chemicals LLC will pay a $36,000 penalty as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Clean Air Act violations at its chemical manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.

The facility produces a hazardous air pollutant – methanol – during its manufacturing of sodium borohydride, a bleaching agent used by the paper industry. Based on data collected during an EPA inspection, EPA alleges Clean Air Act violations pertaining to methanol emissions, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting.

In addition to the $36,000 penalty, Montgomery Chemicals has also agreed to correct the cited violations within six months. The company will also be installing a new scrubber to control emissions, as required by a previous consent order with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The Clean Air Act requires industrial facilities to closely monitor and control methanol emissions. Although human health effects associated with breathing or otherwise consuming smaller amounts of methanol over a long period of time are unknown, workers repeatedly exposed to methanol could experience adverse effects including headaches, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems and optic nerve damage.

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