Division of Water
PLASTICS COMPANY TOLD TO HALT SOLVENT RELEASE INTO OHIO RIVER
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) July 30, 2007 – The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) has ordered a Greenup County plastics plant to immediately stop releasing a solvent into the Ohio River at Wurtland.
The order, issued July 26, directs Pregis Innovative Packaging Inc. to immediately halt any activity and correct any condition leading to the discharge of unacceptable levels of methylene chloride into the Ohio River.
Methylene chloride is a solvent used in the production of flexible urethane foams and plastics. Although the chemical does not pose a significant health risk to humans at low doses, prolonged exposure can be harmful to human health.
EPPC Secretary Teresa Hill said Thursday’s order is intended to protect public health and safety and the environment by bringing Pregis into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
“Whenever any activity poses a danger to Kentucky’s residents or our natural resources, we must act decisively to bring that activity to an end and to enforce the law,” said Hill.
Attorneys for Pregis contacted EPPC officials July 27 and indicated that the company will comply with the order and regrets that the violations occurred.
The methylene chloride release was first detected about 130 miles downstream of the plant, at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) sampling station at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Elevated levels of the chemical were noted on April 13, 2007.
The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) inspected the Pregis facility on June 10 and issued a notice of violation (NOV) for failure to report an elevated discharge of methylene chloride. The notice required the company to provide data indicating the time and location of the release, the type and quantity of material discharged, and the steps taken to mitigate the release and prevent future releases.
The NOV also required the continuation of daily monitoring with submission of the results to DOW within 72 hours.
A second NOV was issued to Pregis on July 24 for again failing to notify DOW of a methylene chloride discharge. It listed additional violations of state regulations, including discharging without a valid Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.