Two Washington industrial plants stand out for dirty air citations

Originally published on March 5, 2013 11:51 am

SEATTLE - When it comes to air pollution citations and fines, two companies stand out from the rest in the Northwest. That's according to an investigation by public radio and the non-profit Investigate West. Both penalized companies say they've made major progress in cleaning up their acts.

Over the past five years, a pair of Northwest companies racked up more citations than any other for air pollution and recordkeeping violations. It's around 100 each.

The associated fines total nearly $1 million over the five years in the case of Verallia, a glass bottle and jar maker located in Seattle's industrial area. Verallia used to be known as Saint-Gobain, the name of its French parent firm.

A statement from the company says it has installed what it calls "innovative" emissions control equipment on a glass melting furnace. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency compliance director Laurie Halvorson says the scrubber should help the current problem.

"They do not have complex emissions controls. They rely on operational controls," she says. "So that's part of how they can run into issues. If those operational controls are not working real well, they can run into regulatory problems."

Meanwhile, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency fined the Hampton Lumber mill in the Northwest Washington town of Darrington nearly $250,000 over five years. Hampton's CEO says the problems with a polluting boiler largely have been fixed, and the Clean Air Agency agrees. The number of fines issued to Portland-based Hampton has slowed to a trickle.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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