Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Judge Orders Columbus Steel to pay for Violating Clean Air Act

Columbus Steel Castings, Inc., of Columbus, Ohio was sentenced to pay $825,000 in fines and install additional devices to prevent air pollution. Columbus Steel pled guilty on July 28, 2011 to six counts of violating the Clean Air Act. The violations include failing to operate air pollution controls, failing to report violations, failing to perform required monitoring, and failing to conduct stack testing to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Air Act.

In announcing the sentence, Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance, made clear that "EPA is committed to protecting communities from illegal air pollution that threatens people's health. Today's sentence will benefit the local community and shows that companies that fail to operate the necessary air pollution controls will be held accountable."

The company admitted that between 2004 and 2007 it failed to operate air pollution controls for four different sources at the plant for varying periods of time. The company also failed to report malfunctions of air pollution control equipment. Daily visual emission checks, designed to determine if the plant was emitting excess dust or smoke, were not conducted on weekends while the facility was operating. Stack tests, which are necessary to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act, were not conducted as required by the company's air permit. The Company also failed to submit accurate annual compliance certifications.

This is not the first time that Columbus Steel has been fined for exceeding air pollution standards. In 2009, EPA successfully took legal action against the foundry, which makes parts for rail cars, for violations of the Act, which included excessive smoke and dust.

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