By Kevin Pierson
Find out more
n Neighbors for Clean Air meeting: 7 p.m., June 8, at First Presbyterian Church, Marietta, corner of Fourth and Wooster Streets.
To pick up a copy of the citizen audit: Available at the meeting, at
www.ohiocitizens.org or by calling Neighbors for Clean Air at 374-0975
or Ohio Citizen Action at 513-221-2100.
results from swipe samples and air monitoring performed by Neighbors
for Clean Air in April confirmed the presence of compounds from Eramet
Marietta, according to a 26-page citizen audit released by the group
and Ohio Citizen Action Thursday.
Results from swipe samples
conducted by the group found the presence of manganese in all eight
test samples, and chromium in all but one. Eramet officials said
Thursday the presence of manganese and chromium should not be
surprising since the company annually documents its emissions to the
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the report,
air monitoring performed by the group also found a pattern of
increasing ammonia release after midnight, which was consistent with
previous complaints made by area residents about an “increase in the
strong, unpleasant odor.”
“We found that indeed their materials
are going out into the community,” said Ruth Breech, southern Ohio
program director for Ohio Citizen Action, a grass roots environmental
group dedicated to reducing pollution.
human resources manager at Eramet, disputed the findings concerning the
odor because even the audit itself states that the amount of ammonia
detected in the air was below the level that most people can smell.
the ammonia they’re capturing is below the threshold for ammonia then
that’s not part of what they’re describing as an odor,” Frank-Collins
The audit later implies that the odor could be caused by
unidentified compounds that are combining with the ammonia off-site
from Eramet. Frank-Collins said these unidentified compounds have not
been shown to have come from Eramet and could have originated anywhere
else in the area.
Eramet released about 800,000 pounds of
ammonia in 2004, up almost 600,000 pounds, from 2002 when the company
released about 200,000 pounds according to the EPA’s Toxic Release
No health effects have been discovered in people exposed to low levels of ammonia in the environment, the citizen audit says.
The swipe samples were conducted at eight locations in Washington and Wood counties including two in Marietta.
Release Inventory reports from 2004 show that almost 500,000 pounds of
manganese are emitted into the air and almost 4 million pounds total
are discharged at Eramet with about 3 million of that contained on site.
of manganese emissions was not a surprise to Frank-Collins who said
that rather than focusing on what’s released into the community the
focus should be on how much is stopped.
“It’s certainly not
surprising there would be manganese in samples. There’s no secret about
what our emissions consist of,” Frank-Collins said. “The vast majority
of these are prevented from leaving the plant property.”
with manganese and chromium in it is a concern because it can lead to
health problems similar to Parkinson’s disease, the audit says, though
it doesn’t cite a source for that information. Breech said the
information comes from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry, an agency under the Department of Health and Human Services.
studies on the effects of the compounds are planned, but Breech said
the chemicals shouldn’t be released if there’s any question about their
“If you’re putting something in the air you should err
on the side of caution,” Breech said. “The chemicals should be guilty
until proven innocent.”
Breech and the Neighbors for Clean Air
have been frustrated in their “good neighbor” campaign by an inability
to meet face-to-face with Eramet officials.
Breech said the
group would like to talk to company officials and have sent more than
3,800 letters to Eramet. Frank-Collins disputed that, saying only about
30 of the letters have been from local residents with the rest coming
from as far as 200 miles away.
Also, Eramet officials have
recently met with the environmental group RECOVER but do not plan to
meet with Neighbors for Clean Air because they feel the group has been
making false statements about the facility and causing undue concern
for the community, Frank-Collins said.
IT ALL — Click
here and receive 11 weeks of The Marietta Times for just