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EPA fines plant, orders emissions reductions

2 local schools to benefit from penalty for HA

Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

OREGON – An Oregon company that produces resin-coated sand reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency after tests indicated the plant’s emissions levels violated Illinois’ Clean Air Act, the EPA said in a news release.

According to court documents, HA International LLC, 1449 Devils Backbone Road, must pay a $100,000 penalty and complete $100,000 in environmental projects in the Oregon area “designed to protect public health by improving ambient and indoor air quality and by reducing environmental asthma triggers and adverse respiratory health conditions.”

To meet that requirement, HA will donate $40,000 to Oregon High School and $10,000 to Creston School, schools chosen for reasons not explained in the release.

According to the court documents, Oregon High School will use the money to buy energy-efficient lighting; install energy-efficient windows and air conditioning; and make other energy upgrades. Creston School will install new windows and upgrade air conditioning and heating systems.

Both payments must be made by Jan. 1.

“As a result of this settlement, people in the Oregon area will breathe cleaner air,” U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman said in the release. “Children at Oregon and Creston schools also will benefit from improved indoor air quality.”

The EPA first became aware of the facility on Aug. 26, 2011, after a citizen complained about a persistent odor emitted by the plant. The agency inspected the facility and ordered further tests of emissions while continuing to receive complaints from residents.

Tests showed that HA International’s emissions, including hazardous air pollutants phenol and formaldehyde, exceeded levels allowed by Illinois’ Clean Air Act and presented a health risk to the community, the release said.

As a result, HA must install equipment to reduce emissions of the contaminants, known as volatile organic compounds, at its facility by an estimated 92 percent, or 797 tons annually, the release said.

HA told the agency that it is on track to meet that requirement no later than Aug. 23, the documents said.

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