Dow will spend $294 million on measures to reduce air pollution and flaring from 26 industrial flares at four of the company’s facilities industrial facilities, including its Hahnville site.
The company will also pay a $3 million civil penalty as result of a settlement reached with regulators, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The settlement was the end result after regulators alleged the company and two subsidiaries – Union Carbide Corp and Performance Materials NA – violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at their petrochemical facilities, which according to the Department of Justice resulted in excess emissions of air pollution. Specifically, a complaint filed last week (Jan. 19) alleged the company oversteamed flares at its sites and omitted other steps that ensured the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants were combusted effectively.
Dow released a statement that has been working actively with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 2013 in an effort to comply with updated combustion efficiency expectations.
In addition to the Hahnville site, Dow will be addressing needs at facilities in Plaquemine, Freeport, Texas and Orange Texas.
According to the DOJ, the settlement requires Dow to minimize the amount of waste gas that is sent to the flares, which reduces the amount of flaring. It must also improve the combustion efficiency of flaring when flaring is necessary. In order to minimize the waste gas sent to the flares at each facility, Dow will operate flare gas systems that will recover and recycle the gases instead of sending them to be combusted in a flare.
The gas recovery systems would allow Dow to reuse these gases as fuel at its facilities or a product for sale, the DOJ said, adding Dow will create waste minimization plans at each facility.
Dow noted in its statement it began upgrading its flare system in 2015 and that all other projects are expected to be completed by 2025.
The DOJ said the measures will eliminate “thousands of tons of air pollution” from four of Dow’s petrochemical manufacturing facilities.
It said that once fully implemented, the pollution controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce harmful emissions of VOCs by more than 5,600 tons per year.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will receive $675,000 of the $3 million total civil penalty and Dow will perform three state authorized projects to benefit the environment in Louisiana that were negotiated by the state.