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Local company to pay $175,000 for violation of Clean Air Act

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HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR)—A Hopewell plant will pay $175,000 for failing to comply with a national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants, said federal officials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced the penalty against Hercules Incorporated, a plant that processes cellulose fiber in Hopewell.

Cellulose fiber is the main raw material used in the manufacturing processes at the facility, located in the 1100 block of Hercules Road. The cellulose is treated with various chemicals, and gaseous and particulate by-products are vented and treated by air pollution control devices, said officials.

Federal agencies said that hazardous air pollutants were leaked through valves and vents into the environment, at different points in the manufacturing process.

As determined in a U.S. District Court in Richmond, Hercules is required to comply with the Clean Air Act standard of “maximum achievable control technology.”

This standard is intended to protect public health and improve air quality by requiring facilities to use state-of-the-art technology for reducing hazardous air pollutants.

Hercules will spend approximately $200,000 to comply with the requirements, resulting in an estimated 150 tons of hazardous air pollutants reduced per year, according to federal agencies.

Hercules has also agreed to conduct extra testing, update its operating permit to document testing and monitoring activities and engage in a two-year enhanced leak detection and repair program.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

For more information, please go to: http://epa.gov/ttn/atw/cellulose/cellfact.pdf