Columbus Steel Castings to Pay 825000 and Install Monitoring Equipmen for Violating Clean Air Act

Columbus Steel Castings Company, Inc., located on the south side of Columbus, Ohio, was recently sentenced to pay $825,000 and install additional devices to prevent air pollution after pleading guilty on July 28, 2011 to six counts of violating the Clean Air Act. The violations include failing to operate air pollution controls, failing to report violations, failing to perform required monitoring, and failing to conduct stack testing to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Air Act.

“EPA is committed to protecting communities from illegal air pollution that threatens people’s health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence will benefit the local community and shows that companies that fail to operate the necessary air pollution controls will be held accountable.”

“This sentence helps safeguard against further violations,” U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart said. “It also provides for environmental education and health care services for residents who live near the plant.”

The company admitted that between 2004 and 2007 it failed to operate air pollution controls for four different emission sources at the plant for varying periods of time. The company also failed to report malfunctions of air pollution control equipment. Daily visual emission checks, designed to determine if the plant was emitting excess dust or smoke, were not conducted on weekends while the facility was operating. Stack tests, which are necessary to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act, were not conducted as required by the company’s air permit. The company also failed to submit accurate annual compliance certifications.

The company was sentenced to pay a $660,000 fine and a total of $165,000 to two different Columbus charitable organizations, Grange Insurance Audubon Center and Physicians Free Clinic, which serve residents who live near the plant. One project will fund a program that provides environmental education to students. The other project will provide medical services, medications, and transportation services for residents of the south side of Columbus with ailments, including, asthma, and treatments, including medications, related to respiratory illnesses.

The judge also ordered the company to install interlock devices designed to shut down emission sources when the associated air pollution control equipment is not in operation.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and the U.S. EPA prosecuted the case.