Collins Products, Jeld-Wen Plants Fined for Air Quality Permit Violations over Equipment Testing

March 20th, 2012 by Editor

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a total of $6,600 in penalties to Collins Products LLC and Jeld-Wen Inc. for failing to follow air quality permit requirements regarding testing of pollution control equipment at their wood products facilities in Klamath Falls. The violations took place at the Collins Products wood products plant at 6410 Highway 66 and at the Jeld-Wen wood products and manufacturing facility at 3330 Lakeport Boulevard.

According to the DEQ, both companies operate their facilities under a DEQ-issued Title V air quality permit, which addresses and limits pollution emitted from the facilities. The permits call for the companies to conduct testing for biofilters, which control hazardous air pollutant emissions from the plants through the use of microorganisms, which can help reduce pollutants such as formaldehyde and methanol.

The DEQ reported Collins Products was $4,400 for violating its permit, which called for complete initial compliance testing and establishment of temperature operating ranges of its particleboard line biofilter by March 28, 2009. According to the DEQ, the company failed to do enough testing to establish a broad enough temperature range under which to operate the biofilter within compliance of national hazardous air pollutant standards. It has yet to complete this testing, DEQ claims.

In addition to the penalty, DEQ ordered Collins Products to conduct additional compliance testing on the biofilter by Sept. 1, 2012, and to submit test results to DEQ by October 1, 2012.

Likewise, DEQ cited Collins with another permit violation – failing to timely submit to DEQ notification of compliance for its particleboard surface dryer and hardboard bake oven – but did not assess a penalty for this violation.

In addition, DEQ issued Jeld-Wen a $2,200 penalty for failure to complete testing of its biofilter, which controls emissions from two fiber dryers and press vents at its plant by its permit deadline.

According to the DEQ, JELD-WEN was to have completed testing its biofilter and establish an operating temperature range for the biofilter by December 2008. The company did not complete this work until October 2011, according to DEQ, also noting that there is no indication that the biofilter malfunctioned since 2008.

“The fine was due to non-compliance with one aspect of the terms of our permit, not an emissions violation,” says Ron Saxton, Jeld-Wen’s chief environmental officer. “We’re confident that HAPs have been effectively and consistently controlled because the plant operated within the temperature guidelines outlined by the biofilter manufacturer, and Jeld-Wen uses formaldehyde-free resins at our fiber plants.”

The announcement reports that DEQ issued the penalties because biofilter testing helps ensure that facilities meet national emission standards designed to keep hazardous emissions at minimum levels for public and environmental health; hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde and methanol are known or suspected carcinogens and can cause serious health effects.

According to the DEQ, the penalty assessed to Collins Products is larger than the Jeld-Wen penalty because Collins never completed enough testing to demonstrate that its operations were in compliance with federal national hazardous air pollutant standards. The DEQ announcement notes that both companies have expressed interest to DEQ in completing supplement environmental projects in lieu of paying the full penalty amount in cash. Under this arrangement, a company agrees to fully pay for a DEQ-approved, on-the-ground project in Oregon that improves the state’s environment in some way. The monetary value of the project can represent up to 80 percent of the total penalty amount. The company is responsible for assuming the full penalty amount, including project costs. Collins Products LLC has until March 29 to appeal its penalty, while Jeld-Wen has a March 21 appeals deadline.

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