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Columbus Steel Accepts Environmental Settlement

Aug. 8, 2011
Foundry acknowledges non-compliance with Clean Air Act
Columbus Steel Castings Co., the Ohio manufacturer of cast components for railroad, construction, heavy equipment, and other markets, pleaded guilty late last month to six counts of violating the federal Clean Air Act, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. 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 CAA. A plea agreement was filed before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp. It calls for Columbus Steel Castings to pay a fine of $660,000, and contribute $165,000 to two charities active in the South Columbus neighborhood where the plant is situated. According to U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart, the sentence also calls for Columbus Steel to install interlock devices designed to shut down emissions sources when the associated air pollution control equipment is not in operation. The foundry acknowledged that between 2004 and 2007 it failed to operate air-pollution controls for four different emission sources at its plant, for varying periods of time. Also, it admitted it failed to report air-pollution control equipment malfunctions to the Ohio EPA, as required, as well as multiple deviations from air-pollution control operating parameters to the Ohio EPA. Ohio AG Mike DeWine’s office reported that daily visual emission checks to determine if the plant was emitting excess dust or smoke were not conducted on weekends while the plant was in production. Stack tests that ensure compliance with the CAA were not conducted, as required by the company’s air permit. The company also failed to submit accurate annual compliance certifications. DeWine credited the U.S. Attorney and federal and state EPA agents for securing the agreement. “Task Force collaborations such as this help keep Ohio's air cleaner, and keeping our environment safe is an important part of our mission to protect Ohio families,” he said.