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News Releases from Region 03

Settlement with S.H. Bell Requires Manganese Emission Safeguards at Plant in Ohioville, Pa. and East Liverpool, Ohio

Contact Information: 
Roy Seneca (seneca.roy@epa.gov)
Anne Rowan (EPA Region 5) (rowan.anne@epa.gov )
Wyn Hornbuckle (U.S. Dept. of Justice) (wyn.hornbuckle@usdoj.gov)
(202) 514-2007

PHILADELPHIA (January 18, 2017) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a proposed consent decree with S.H. Bell Company requiring the company to monitor and take measures to reduce manganese emissions from its 92-acre plant that spans the Pennsylvania-Ohio border in Ohioville, Pa. and East Liverpool, Ohio.

The proposed consent decree was filed in federal district court in Cleveland along with a complaint alleging that airborne manganese particles from S.H. Bell’s facility may endanger the health of residents who live near the facility.  The government complaint is based on authority of the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA” also known as the “Superfund” statute).  Today’s federal action builds upon actions previously taken by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

According to EPA, air monitoring conducted in East Liverpool, Ohio and Glasgow, Pa. by Ohio EPA and Pennsylvania DEP showed that the company’s operations have contributed to or caused elevated airborne manganese levels in residential areas near the S.H. Bell facility.

Manganese is a naturally occurring element found in many soils, rocks and foods, and is used in the production of steel and other industrial processes.  Manganese can be toxic when inhaled by humans at elevated exposure levels, leading to neurological and neuropsychological damage.

In the proposed consent decree, S.H. Bell has agreed to several measures to provide both immediate and long-term reductions in fugitive manganese emissions. These safeguards include fugitive dust control measures (such as rolling doors, and a baghouse with monitoring/recording systems); a tracking system for manganese materials and video recordings of certain facility operations to help the company and regulators determine the source of manganese emissions detected in the future; fenceline monitoring with EPA-approved monitors; and required steps to investigate and, if needed, take corrective action if emissions exceed specified trigger levels.

As part of the settlement, the company did not admit liability. The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.