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EPA cites Rea Magnet Wire for clean-air violations

Release Date: 6/30/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA104

CHICAGO (June 30, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Rea Magnet Wire Co. Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at two copper and aluminum magnet wire manufacturing plants in Indiana. One plant is at 3600 E. Pontiac St., Fort Wayne, and the other is at 2800 Concord Road, Lafayette.

EPA alleges that Rea Magnet violated its state operating permits at both plants by failing to operate its volatile organic compound control devices at a temperature hot enough to adequately destroy VOC emissions, and that it used coatings at the Lafayette plant with a higher VOC content than is permitted. EPA said each plant emits hundreds of tons of VOCs each year.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Rea Magnet has 30 days from receipt of the notices to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Magnet wire is used to make alternators, generators, electromagnets and motors. It is insulated with thin enamel to maximize resistance to heat and to minimize thickness.

Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

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