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Settlement Reached with Drummond Company to Resolve Alleged Clean Air Act Violations at the Coke Byproduct Recovery Plant Located at the ABC Coke Facility in Tarrant, Ala.

02/08/2019
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (pinkney.james@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

Atlanta (February 8, 2019) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Jefferson County Board of Health (JCBH) announced a settlement agreement with Drummond Company (Drummond) that will resolve allegations that Drummond violated the Clean Air Act at the coke byproduct recovery plant located at its ABC Coke facility in Tarrant, Ala.

The settlement is contained in a Consent Decree that is being lodged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama concurrently with a Complaint which alleges that Drummond violated regulatory requirements known as National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs),including 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart L (Benzene Emissions from Coke By-product Recovery Plants), Subpart V (Equipment Leaks and Fugitive Emissions), and Subpart FF (Benzene Waste Operations).

"It is very important that facilities carefully follow Clean Air requirements to ensure that people in the surrounding communities are able to enjoy healthy air quality," said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Today’s agreement demonstrates EPA’s dedication to working with our state and local partners to pursue violations of laws that are critical to protecting public health and bring companies into compliance.”

EPA and JCBH discovered the alleged violations during a compliance inspection at the coke byproduct recovery area of the facility in 2011. Since that time, EPA and JCBH have been working with the company to ensure that the alleged violations are corrected. After the 2011 inspection and continuing through 2017, Drummond corrected several of the identified alleged violations. During two follow-up inspections conducted in 2014 and 2018, EPA and JCBH observed the corrective actions that Drummond had taken. Under the proposed Consent Decree, Drummond will implement additional actions that will address remaining alleged violations not previously corrected.

Drummond also will pay a civil penalty of $775,000 and conduct a Supplemental Environmental Project that will require the use of an optical gas thermal imaging camera during four semi-annual monitoring events that will help detect leaks from equipment, piping, pumps, tanks and valves at the byproducts plant and confirm that corrective actions implemented by Drummond prior to and after entry of the Consent Decree are effective at reducing and eliminating leaks.

ABC Coke is a metallurgical coke producer with two related industrial plants including the battery facility. The coke byproduct recovery plant that is the subject of this settlement is where coke oven gas produced during the coke production process at the facility is recovered for reuse, and where byproduct materials are collected for sale and waste waters from the byproduct recovery processes are disposed.

The proposed Consent Decree was lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and is subject to a 30-day public comment period that will commence on the date that notice of the settlement is published in the Federal Register. 

A copy of the consent decree lodged today will be available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

More information about today’s settlement may be found at: https://www.epa.gov/al/drummond-company-clean-air-act-settlement-information-sheet

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