Chemical Plant Pollution in Texas Will Cost It $7M

     AUSTIN (CN) – Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corp.’s release of hazardous air pollutants and wastewater in Texas will cost it $7.5 million, a judge ruled.
     The settlement approved Wednesday stems from the state’s enforcement action against Gulf Chemical’s plant in Freeport. It is the third-largest recovery from a single plant in state history, Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement.
     In addition to the penalty, Gulf Chemical also faces a requirement to install state-of-the art metals monitoring equipment at its plant.
     A subsidiary of the French multinational Eramet, Gulf Chemical describes itself as “the world’s largest recycler of spent petroleum catalysts and a leading producer of ferroalloys.”
     Abbott said the plant’s pollution came to the attention of Texas regulators in 2011.
     “The state’s 2011 enforcement action against GCMC originated with a referral from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, whose investigators found that GCMC’s facility unlawfully emitted air pollutants such as ammonia, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and various airborne metals,” Abbott said in the statement. “State investigators also discovered that GCMC unlawfully discharged wastewater that contained toxic and hazardous metals, including arsenic, cobalt and nickel. Soil samples tested near the defendant’s facility revealed dangerous levels of toxic metals, including antimony, chromium and lead.”

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