EPA Takes Action Against Connecticut Company for Clean Air Act Violations in New Haven
Community of New Haven breathes easier due to EPA's enforcement action
NEW HAVEN, CONN. (March 27, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently reached a settlement with Trelleborg Coated Systems US, Inc., located in New Haven, Conn., for allegedly violating the federal Clean Air Act. The company has agreed to pay a penalty of $305,305 under the terms of the settlement and come into compliance or permanently shut down all of its coating operations at their New Haven facility by July 1, 2023.
"This settlement will result in improved air quality for the people of New Haven, a community that has historically been overburdened by environmental pollution," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "No one should be worried that the air that they breathe has been compromised due to a company's alleged failure to follow federal laws, and I'm glad to say the community of New Haven is now better protected as a result of EPA's action."
Trelleborg Coated Systems US, Inc. is a manufacturing facility that primarily performs urethane coating and laminating processes on various fabrics to achieve water and chemical repellant and flame-retardant properties for fabrics used for products such as escape slides for aircrafts, blood pressure cuffs, mattresses, and protective clothing.
EPA, along with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), conducted a comprehensive inspection of Trelleborg's facility. As a result of the inspection EPA alleged that Trelleborg had various violations of its New Source Review Permit to Construct and Operate a Stationary Source. The alleged violations involve the operation of six coating lines and two laminating lines, the associated capture systems (e.g., permanent total enclosures or "PTEs") and the control system.
EPA discovered additional alleged violations after the facility performed stack testing to evaluate whether the facility's oxidizer, used to minimize and control Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from the coating lines, and the PTEs, used to capture and direct VOC emissions to the oxidizer, were functioning properly. The stack testing results indicated that Trelleborg was not achieving the required destruction efficiency for VOCs and therefore was emitting hazardous air pollutants. In addition, the facility had not been achieving the required capture efficiency until late October 2021 and was not maintaining all required VOC usage records.
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.
EPA brought a similar action against Trelleborg's affiliated entity in North Smithfield, Rhode Island a few years ago. In that case, EPA found that the capture system associated with the one coating line maintained by that facility was not meeting the required capture efficiency and that the oxidizer was not correctly sized to accommodate all VOC emissions generated by the line, had the line been properly capturing VOC emissions.