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DOJ slaps Honeywell plant in Hopewell with $3 million fine

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HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR) -- The Department of Justice has slapped a Hopewell plant with a $3 million fine for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act.

The Department of Justice said in a news release that Honeywell Resins and Chemicals, which owns the plant located in the 900 block of East Randolph Rd, agreed to pay the fine and upgrade the plant's air pollution control equipment.

Officials said the plant, which was built in 1928 by Allied Chemicals, exceeded permitted emission levels for nitrogen oxide, benzene and other volatile organic compounds, along with particulate matter. [Wayne Covil will have reaction from folks who live near the plant -- and a Hopewell city manager today starting at 5 p.m.]

Additionally, the EPA said the plant is accused of not implementing several required upgrades to keep pollution in check  Those include upgrades to air pollution control equipment that would detect hazardous leaks. The plant is also accused of failing to come up with benzene waste safeguards.

Honeywell's Peter Dalpe released the following statement Friday.

“Honeywell is committed to the highest standards of environmental compliance and sustainability at every one of our facilities.

Today, we have reached an agreement with the EPA and the State of Virginia to modernize our Hopewell site’s environmental control systems while continuing to meet current and future demand for products produced at Hopewell.

Upgrades to these systems are already underway.

Honeywell does not admit to any of the alleged violations.

During the past five years, Honeywell’s total capital investment in Hopewell has exceeded $170 million, including important projects that directly support our health, safety and environmental commitments.

These investments have resulted in our improved performance in these areas, and we continue to strive for excellence at all of our facilities.”

The Honeywell plant in Hopewell is the world’s largest producer of caprolactam, which is used in carpet fibers, plastics and films. The plant also produces ammonium sulfate used for fertilizer.

Company officials also said the plant is also Virginia’s second largest exporter, shipping caprolactam to China and other Asian countries. Fertilizer is exported to Latin America