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July 23, 2007

Air Pollution

DuPont Makes Deal On SO2 Emissions

Company settles with EPA over releases at sulfuric acid facilities

Cheryl Hogue

DuPont will spend at least $66 million on air pollution controls for sulfuric acid operations and pay a fine of $4.1 million under a settlement with EPA announced on July 20.

The deal with DuPont is the second in what EPA and the Justice Department say will be a series of agreements with sulfuric acid manufacturers for curbing emissions of sulfur dioxide. The first, with Rhodia, was announced in April (C&EN Online Latest News, April 27).

EPA claims that DuPont made modifications that increased air pollution at four sulfuric acid production plants in Darrow, La.; Richmond, Va.; North Bend, Ohio; and Wurtland, Ky. DuPont failed to obtain the necessary permits under the Clean Air Act and did not install required equipment to control the additional air pollution, the agency alleges.

The company disagrees. "DuPont conducted routine maintenance, repair, and replacement projects at these plants for safety, efficiency, and reliability, but none of the projects resulted in an increase in emissions," the company says in a statement. Nonetheless, DuPont says it opted to work with EPA to curb sulfur dioxide emissions at the plants.

Under the settlement, DuPont will install state-of-the-art air pollution control devices at the Louisiana plant by September 2009, an action estimated to cost about $66 million, EPA says. At the other three plants, the company can, by March 2012, either install new pollution control equipment or shut the plants down, the agency says.

In addition to curbing emissions of sulfur dioxide, DuPont will pay a civil fine of $4.1 million, part of which will go to Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia because these states joined the federal government in the settlement agreement.

Chemical & Engineering News
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