EPA Action Ensures that West Springfield, Mass. Industrial Laundry Will Reduce Air Emissions
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – A West Springfield, Mass. industrial laundry company will take steps to significantly reduce air pollution from its operations under a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). New England Industrial Uniform Rental Service, Inc., will also pay a penalty of $51,700 for its alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
EPA alleged that NE Uniform Service's operations resulted in emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which impair air quality. Prior to the issuance of EPA's enforcement action, the company had not applied for an air permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Further, NE Uniform Service had not implemented "reasonably available control technology" (RACT) at the facility as required by the MassDEP, which would reduce emissions of VOCs.
The company launders business uniforms and industrial shop towels. Until recently, the company also laundered print towels. Print towels caused most of the facility's air emissions, since these towels are often contaminated with solvents that contain VOCs. Under the settlement, NE Uniform Service has been prohibited from laundering print towels after June 30, 2020, and will implement best management practices for the laundering of shop towels that contain oils and grease. Emissions of VOC will also be limited by its new air permit. These measures will ensure that the facility stays below a specified VOC emissions limit and allow it to meet RACT requirements without additional emission controls.
The facility is located at 355 Union Street in West Springfield, in an urban area that includes significant amounts of residential dwellings. The surrounding area also has a high percentage of minority and low-income population.
"This settlement will result in improved air quality for people living in an urban residential neighborhood of West Springfield that has experienced environmental justice concerns," said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Reducing VOC emissions from this industrial laundry will help local residents who live near the facility to enjoy healthier air quality."
VOCs include a variety of chemicals that may produce adverse health effects such as eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; nausea; and damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Moreover, emissions of VOCs contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, which is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and VOCs in the presence of sunlight. Ground level ozone can trigger various respiratory problems and can also harm sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.
Over the past few years, EPA has conducted numerous inspections of industrial laundry facilities across New England in an effort to address Clean Air Act violations, and EPA has taken enforcement actions with associated penalties against AmeriPride, Cintas, Clean Uniforms, Coyne, G&K, and Unifirst.
More information on EPA Clean Air Act enforcement: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/air-enforcement