Eastman Chemical Resins Inc. to pay $2.4 million penalty for multiple environmental violations at West Elizabeth Pa. facility
PHILADELPHIA (May 25, 2023) – Eastman Chemical Resins Inc. will pay a $2.4 million penalty for environmental violations at the sprawling 56-acre manufacturing facility in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, that is now owned and operated by Synthomer Jefferson Hills, LLC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
“Compliance with our nation’s laws that protect the environment and the health of our communities is an obligation companies can’t take lightly,” said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “The actions required by this settlement will help ensure that the facility operates in a manner that is protective of environmental resources and the health of nearby communities.”
“Pennsylvanians have a right enshrined in the state constitution to clean air and pure water, and we will always pursue operators that violate that right and hold polluters accountable,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “We were pleased to work with our federal partners to hold this polluter accountable.”
Along with the financial penalty being paid by Eastman, Synthomer has agreed to take actions to eliminate ongoing violations and prevent future violations. This includes conducting a comprehensive review of stormwater discharges and groundwater contamination and implementing initiatives to ensure compliance with environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and parallel Pennsylvania laws.
- Chronic Clean Water Act violations including exceeding allowable limits for zinc, xylene and other pollutants that are discharged to the Monongahela River.
- Unpermitted discharges of oil and other pollutants.
- Failure to comply with operation and maintenance obligations of its Clean Water Act permit.
- Violations of the facility’s Clean Air Act risk management program.
- Numerous hazardous waste management violations.
The penalty will be divided equally between the United States and Pennsylvania, who are co-plaintiffs in this consent decree. Pennsylvania DEP assisted EPA in the investigation and litigation. The settlement addresses alleged federal and state environmental law violations that have occurred since 2017, which threaten to degrade receiving streams and impact public health and harm aquatic life and the environment.
The chemical producing facility is bordered on the southeast by the Monongahela River and bisected by an unnamed tributary to that river. The proposed consent decree, filed in the federal district court in Pittsburgh, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
A copy of the consent decree with more specifics about the violations is available online at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.