Cabot Corporation, the second largest carbon black manufacturer in the US, has agreed to pay a $975,000 civil penalty and spend an estimated $84 million on technology to control air pollution, resolving alleged Clean Air Act violations at its three facilities in the towns of Franklin and Ville Platte, La. and Pampa, Texas.
The EPA and Department of Justice say the agreement with the Boston-based company is the first to result from a national enforcement initiative aimed at bringing carbon black manufacturers into environmental compliance with the law’s New Source Review provisions.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is a co-plaintiff in the case and will receive $292,500 of the penalty.
At all three facilities, the settlement requires that Cabot optimize existing controls for particulate matter or soot, operate an “early warning” detection system that will alert facility operators to any particulate matter releases, and comply with a plan to control “fugitive emissions,” which result from leaks or unintended releases of gases. To address nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution, Cabot must install selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce emissions, install continuous monitoring, and comply with stringent limits, the EPA says.
At the two larger facilities in Louisiana, Cabot must address sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution by installing wet gas scrubbers to control emissions, install continuous monitoring, and comply with stringent emissions limits. In addition, the Texas facility is required to comply with a limit on the amount of sulfur in feedstock, which is the lowest for any carbon black plant in the US.
These measures are expected to reduce NOx emissions by approximately 1,975 tons per year, SO2 emissions by approximately 12,380 tons per year, and improve existing particulate matter controls.