According to a complaint filed on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice at the request of the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the owner and operator of a petrochemical manufacturing facility in Haverhill, Ohio is under fire for alleged pollution control lapses. The lawsuit seeks to curtail claimed ongoing violations and to impose more than $100,000 in civil penalties per violation.
The EPA explains that ALTIVIA Petrochemicals LLC purchased the Haverhill facility in 2015 from Haverhill Chemicals LLC in a bankruptcy proceeding. Pursuant to the purchase agreement, Altivia assumed all liability for assigned permits, including the then existing Clean Air Act (CAA) Title V permit for the facility. Altivia began operations in November 2015 following the facility’s shut down that June.
During an EPA inspection in May 2017, the agency uncovered several flaws in Altivia’s production process that resulted in illegal emission discharges. Among other things, the EPA found failed emission control systems, leaky valves, monitoring lapses, and levels of hazardous air pollutants exceeding those permitted. The EPA contends that Altivia’s violations began in November 2015 and remain ongoing.
The lawsuit states seven claims for relief, including failure to control process vent, failure to perform proper “Method 21” monitoring at affected valves, and failure to control wastewater streams for certain compounds at the facility’s open biological wastewater treatment unit. The EPA asks that the court enjoin Altivia’s chemical manufacturing operations to the extent they violate the CAA, order the company to rectify past violations, assess civil penalties for each violation occurring on or after Nov. 3, 2015, and award the plaintiff its attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.
The United States is represented by the U.S. Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio, and of-counsel the EPA.