ASARCO has agreed to a settlement with the EPA and US Department of Justice that requires the company to spend $150 million to install new equipment and pollution control technology to reduce emissions of toxic heavy metals at a large copper smelter in Hayden, Arizona.
The company will also fund local environmental projects valued at $8 million, replace a diesel locomotive with a cleaner model for $1 million, and pay a $4.5 million civil penalty.
The federal enforcement action targeted hazardous air pollutants, including lead and arsenic, in particulate matter (PM). With the controls in place, the EPA says hazardous air pollutants should be reduced by at least 8.5 tons per year, and it expects PM emissions to be reduced by 3,500 tons per year.
The new equipment and controls will slash the facility’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 19,000 tons per year, a reduction of more than 90 percent according to EPA estimates. Currently, the ASARCO smelter is the largest source of SO2 emissions in Arizona.
The EPA’s investigation found the company violated federal Clean Air Act standards by failing to adequately control emissions of hazardous air pollutants, such as arsenic and lead, from the Hayden smelter.
Last month Cargill reached a settlement with the EPA over alleged Clean Air ACt violations at its Vitamin E manufacturing facility in Eddyville, Iowa.