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EPA settles with St. John the Baptist plant operator; says deal will reduce pollution

5 months 1 week 1 day ago Monday, April 24 2023 Apr 24, 2023 April 24, 2023 6:40 PM April 24, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH - The EPA on Monday announced details of an agreement that it says will reduce the release of pollutants from a Reserve chemical plant.

The deal involves the Evonik Corporation facility that, inspections determined, had been emitting unacceptable levels of ethylene oxide and other substances.

The EPA said the installation of new, more efficient scrubbers and other measures will "secure a meaningful reduction of air toxics for the people of St. John the Baptist."

According to the agency:

Evonik has already replaced their scrubber with a more efficient flare, which will destroy 98% of emissions routed to it. Evonik will also install a thermal oxidizer and be required to operate it with a minimum destruction efficiency of 99.9% as demonstrated by a required initial performance test. Evonik will also implement an enhanced leak detection and repair program, which will help minimize fugitive emissions of ethylene oxide and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The corrective actions will reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions by about 5.6 tons per year, including 2.16 tons of ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is a hazardous organic pollutant and VOC that can cause cancer in humans. VOCs can contribute to the formation of ozone, or smog, which can result in health problems such as asthma, lung infections, bronchitis, and cancer.

Evonik also agrees to install a Vapor Recovery System that will route "VOCs" to an oxidizer/flare system, further reducing emissions.

The company will pay a fine of $75,000, as well.

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