By Sam Shawver, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where you can
find EPA reports
n Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency publishes a county-by-county weekly review of public notices at epa.state.oh.us
n Air quality information is available at epa.state.oh.us/dapc/
n For more information, contact OEPA at (614) 644-3020.
Eramet Marietta will have a chance next month to prove the company’s No. 1 furnace is in good working order.
equipment was found to be out of compliance in November during a
particulate emission test by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The test, performed on Nov. 8, showed a total emissions rate from the
furnace of 36.4 pounds per hour, above the 27.2 pounds per hour rate
allowed by Ohio EPA for a furnace operating under a load of 25
megawatts or less.
“The test was done in November of 2006, and
we received the report in late December. We had a lot of discussions
with company officials who believed the readings were off because of
some problems they had encountered with that furnace,” said Bruce
Weinberg, air division manager at Ohio EPA’s Southeast District office
He said the troubles were not related to two burn-throughs that occurred in furnace No. 1 last month.
had to schedule tests of three furnaces 30 days ahead of the actual
test date, and in the meantime we had some operational problems (with
furnace No. 1),” said Jeff McKinney, manager of safety, health and
environmental affairs with Eramet Marietta.
He said the problems involved water leakage in the furnace due to some rings and seals that needed to be replaced.
safety, we were required to reduce the furnace power supply below 25
megawatts in order to conduct the test,” McKinney explained. “And in
reducing the power load we were subject to the lower emission rating of
27.2 pounds per hour.”
McKinney and Weinberg agree the furnace
was operating near the 25-megawatt threshold, at which the state EPA’s
allowable emission standard is increased. Under that classification,
the furnace emissions would have been within tolerance.
operating in the 24 to 25 megawatt range, so they had no choice, but we
weren’t exceeding our traditional limits,” McKinney said. “We came back
into compliance within two days and were able to continue operating at
the normal higher load range, around 28 megawatts.”
and Ohio EPA had discussions about the test, but the agency sent Eramet
a letter on April 5 that the furnace had been operating in violation of
emissions standards during the test.
“They tried to convince us
that the test was not valid, but after some discussions, we concluded
that the furnace should be considered out of compliance,” Weinberg said.
have repaired the furnace seals and rings, but we need to document that
they are in compliance. The furnace will be considered out of
compliance until then,” he said. “A re-test is scheduled in May, with
the furnace operating at 25 megawatts and below and at 25 megawatts and
Weinberg said the emission rate of nine pounds per hour
above the Ohio EPA standard was not considered to be a large amount,
and would have been within tolerance if the furnace test had been done
with an operating load of 25 megawatts or more. But he said Eramet
still could be penalized for exceeding the allowable emission rate.
“Our next step is to prepare a referral to our central office
enforcement coordinator in Columbus,” Weinberg said. “They will sit
down and determine whether a penalty needs to be issued for the
He added there was no way to tell if the additional
release of silicomanganese particulates would have any hazardous effect
on humans at this time, because studies pertaining to the chemical’s
effect on the human population are incomplete.
An air quality
study by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
has been under way since 2001 in areas neighboring the Eramet facility.
September, agency investigators announced the study was being expanded
with the installation of three additional air quality monitors in
Harmar Village and across the Ohio River in Boaz and Vienna, W.Va. One monitor had previously been placed along Blue Knob Road near the Eramet plant.
Air samples will be taken for a year, then the agency will analyze the data and determine whether a health study is warranted.