A mower that had run across exposed dry sediment in a lagoon near the Brush Wellman plant in Elmore is believed to be the cause of a violation of the company’s air pollution permit, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says.
In a settlement announced recently, the company will place a barrier over the sediment in the lagoon, which receives discharges of filtered waste water and storm water, and will avoid disturbing the sediment.
Brush Wellman agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty for violating its permit, according to the EPA, but can defer a portion of its penalty by installing three additional particulate emission detectors in the ducts of air pollution control devices.
The company maintains nine off-site air pollution monitors to measure beryllium emissions from the facility.
The permit limits beryllium emissions to 0.01 micrograms per cubic meter (g/m3) of air, averaged over a 30-day period.
The incident with the mower occurred in August, 2008 and the company reported that a monitor located on West State Route 105, about 0.6 mile from the plant, measured beryllium emissions at 0.0797 g/m3 the week of Aug. 4-11. It caused the company’s average for the month to rise to 0.0196 g/m3, exceeding the permitted limit.
Brush Wellman will pay $28,000 to the Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund and air pollution control programs. The balance of the penalty will go to the EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Fund, which will receive $12,000, and to the monitoring project, which will receive $20,000.
The additional detectors will be placed downstream of the plant’s secondary cartridge collectors, which are located in an old cast shop and used to control particulate emissions from several alloy induction furnaces and related operations. The detectors will be equipped with an alarm system that will alert operators of dust collector leaks or malfunctions.
The EPA regulates beryllium because it is classified as a hazardous air pollutant and exposure to airborne beryllium has been reported to cause respiratory illnesses and skin irritation.
The Brush Wellman plant converts beryllium hydroxide into beryllium alloy products.