Pacific Steel Casting Settles Pollution Charges

New carbon filter to be installed, penalty to be paid

According to local news reports, Berkeley, CA-based Pacific Steel Castings has reached a settlement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, including agreeing to pay $17,500 in penalties and to install a new odor-emission control system.

Pacific Steel Casting is a family-owned company operating three plants that use shell-mold, green-sand, and air-set processes to produce carbon and low-alloy and stainless steel castings up to 7,000 lb in size.

As reported by Inside Bay Area, the company will install a carbon absorption system in one of its plants, similar to carbon filters installed at the other two operations in 1991 and 1985. Also, Pacific Steel Casting will pay BAAQMD $17,500 in penalties within 30 days, and agreed to pay a penalty of $3,000 for any day the air district receives and confirms five odor complaints.

The settlement follows several years of complaints from area residents concerning an odor of burning plastic that cause headaches, nausea, and other ailments. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District filed nine notices of violation in 2005 following the complaints.

As reported by local sources, over 300 complaints about the odor were filed from January 1998 to March 2005. From 1985 to 2000, however, Pacific Steel Castings operated within an “unconditional order of abatement” that might have led to an immediate shut down. That order was rescinded in 2000.

BAAQMD CEO Jack P. Broadbent told Inside Bay Area: "This settlement agreement is significant and good for the community because it includes more than just civil monetary penalties — the company has agreed to reconfigure part of the facility and install state-of-the-art abatement equipment specially designed for it … This should reduce or eliminate air quality problems now and in the future."

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