Oregon’s largest glass recycler fined $1.03M for air quality violations

Owens-Brockway was cited for ongoing air quality violations at its Portland facility.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a $1,032,354 penalty to Owens-Brockway as part of an enforcement action, citing the company for multiple, ongoing air quality violations at its Portland facility.

Owens-Brockway, a subsidiary of Perrysburg, Ohio-based glass manufacturing giant O-I Glass Inc., is the largest glass recycler in Oregon, according to The Oregonian.

DEQ is requiring Owens-Brockway to develop a plan to reduce emissions immediately and to submit an application to modify its permit to include pollution controls.

Owens-Brockway’s violations include exceeding the facility’s permitted amount of particulate matter emissions as well as the permitted opacity, which is the degree to which visibility is reduced by pollution. Particulate matter can affect the heart and lungs, causing serious health problems such as decreased lung function, irregular heartbeat and chronic bronchitis. These emissions contain toxic air contaminants, including a number of metals DEQ regulates because they have the potential to cause serious adverse human health effects.

“The best thing Owens-Brockway could do to come into compliance and protect the community is to install pollution controls,” DEQ Northwest Region Administrator Nina DeConcini says. “DEQ is concerned about this facility’s history of non-compliance and the impact it’s having on the community.”

An Interim Measures Plan to reduce emissions until the facility installs pollution control equipment is due to DEQ 15 days after the order becomes final. Owens-Brockway must consider the option of reducing production to comply with the pollution limits in its permit, DEQ says. A permit modification application is due 90 days after the order becomes final and the facility must install pollution controls within one year following permit issuance.

Owens-Brockway has the option to appeal the order within 20 calendar days of receiving the notice. The order becomes final either after the 20 days or once the appeal has been resolved via settlement or an administrative hearing.

In addition to this enforcement, Owens-Brockway is completing an air toxics risk assessment as part of DEQ’s Cleaner Air Oregon program and has identified cost-effective pollution controls as part of DEQ’s Regional Haze program. Both of these programs may require pollution controls. The company has installed pollution controls at other glass manufacturing facilities in the U.S.