Formosa Plastics is to spend more than $10m (£6.2m) on pollution controls to address air, water and hazardous waste violations at two petrochemical plants in Point Comfort, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The US Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the announcement, which came as a result of a settlement after the company was found to have failed to control leaks of hazardous pollutants.
The companies have also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2.8m to resolve violations under the US Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Both the Texas and Louisiana facilities will implement a comprehensive CAA enhanced leak detection and repair programme, which goes beyond regulatory requirements by requiring more stringent leak definitions, more frequent monitoring and monitoring and repair of additional chemical manufacturing equipment.
The leak-prevention practices agreed to in the settlement include a programme to replace valves with new ‘low-leak’ valve technology, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of future leaks of air pollutants.
The enhanced leak detection and repair programme will potentially reduce the annual volatile organic compound (VOC) air emissions from the two Formosa facilities by approximately 6,570,000 pounds per year of VOCs, including hazardous air pollutants such as vinyl chloride.
‘The settlement requires Formosa to institute a comprehensive enhanced leak-detection programme designed to address serious violations of environmental regulations,’ said John Cruden, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.