Ohio EPA issues air pollution permit for proposed FDS Coke Plant in Oregon

State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER
P.O. Box 1049, 122 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Tele: (614) 644-2160 Fax: (614) 644-2737

For Release: June 14 2004
Contact: EPA 0402 (rev. 10/96)
Printed on Recycled Paper

Mary McCarron (614) 644-2160

Ohio EPA has included one of the strictest mercury emission limits in the nation in a permit issued today to U.S. Coking Group LLC for the construction of the proposed FDS Coke plant in Oregon (Lucas County).

“This is the most restrictive permit we’ve ever issued for this kind of facility,” said Ohio EPA Director Christopher Jones. “We are doing it because we are concerned about the impact of mercury on Lake Erie and on children. As far as we know, this is the first coke plant permit in the nation to contain a specific limit on mercury emissions.”

Jones explained that permits for existing coke plants have not been required to contain a specific mercury limit because there is no national standard limiting mercury emissions. But it is important to control the amount of mercury released to the environment because mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can cause neurological damage in humans, especially children.

The permit-to-install sets limits on the type and quantities of materials that may be discharged to the air. The facility will be required to use the best available technology to control air pollution.

The plant will be restricted to 36 pounds of mercury emissions per year. A computerized stack monitor will be installed to measure mercury emissions from the facility 24 hours a day. Other stack monitors will continuously measure sulfur dioxide and particulate(soot) emissions from the facility.

The company had requested permission to bypass pollution control equipment up to 83 days per year during routine plant maintenance, but the final permit allows no such bypasses. This will further reduce annual emissions of all pollutants from the facility. Bypasses will be permitted during emergencies in order to maintain a safe operation.

In addition to mercury, particulates and sulfur dioxide, the permit regulates the emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and lead. Emission limits are based on requirements in the federal Clean Air Act, and are designed to protect public health and the environment.

The plant will have four coke batteries consisting of 240 coke ovens and is expected to produce 1.44 million tons of coke each year. Construction must begin within 18 months of the date the permit-to-install is issued.

A public comment period on the draft permit was held from April 13 through June 3, and a public hearing was held on May 13 at Oregon City Council Chambers. A summary of Ohio EPA and Toledo Division of Environmental Services responses to the public comments will be available on the Internet at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/pic/citizen/response/uscoke_air_june04.pdf.

The permit and other supporting documents are available for review from the Toledo Division of Environmental Services at 348 South Erie St., Toledo, during normal business hours, or by calling (419) 936-3015. A copy of the permit and permit application also have been provided to the Oregon Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

The permit may be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) within 30 days. For more information on appealing the action, contact ERAC at (614) 466-8950.

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