The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality announced a settlement with Georgia Gulf Chemicals and Vinyls LLC (Georgia Gulf), headquartered in Atlanta. Under the agreement, Georgia Gulf will perform corrective measures to prevent the discharge of up to 12,000 pounds of vinyl chloride per year from entering an unlined surface impoundment at its Aberdeen, Miss., polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturing facility.
Georgia Gulf will implement several standard operating procedures to ensure compliance with the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Air Act (CAA). Further, Georgia Gulf has also agreed to comply with specific Clean Water Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requirements (EPCRA).
Georgia Gulf will pay a civil penalty of $610,000 to be split evenly between the United States and the State of Mississippi. Georgia Gulf has also agreed to perform corrective measures at an estimated cost of $2.9 million, including installation of an air stripper to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by removing vinyl chloride from process wastewater.
“This settlement is an excellent example of state and federal agencies working together to improve the environment in the Aberdeen, Mississippi area,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA’s Region 4 Administrator.
Other details of the settlement:
- Georgia Gulf will install a VOC Air Stripper and an Above-Ground Solids Removal System to reduce VOCs, including vinyl chloride, prior to discharge to an earthen surface impoundment;
- Georgia Gulf will revise its current Clean Air Act Leak Detection and Elimination Plan in accordance with regulatory requirements, including identification of three process units;
- Georgia Gulf will revise its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to ensure compliance with Storm Water Permit; and
- Georgia Gulf will revise its Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan to comply with applicable regulatory requirements.
Most vinyl chloride is used to make PVC plastic and vinyl products. EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A human carcinogen. Vinyl chloride exposure has been linked to adverse human health effects, including liver cancer, other liver ailments, and neurological disorders.
This is the fifth case concluded under EPA’s vinyl chloride initiative, which began in 2002. These vinyl chloride settlements have addressed and resolved alleged violations of environmental requirements and reduced vinyl chloride emissions by approximately 140,000 pounds.
A copy of the consent decree lodged today is available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/open.html.