Ford Motor Co.’s Cleveland Casting Plant will close in 2010, but the automaker has agreed with the Ohio EPA to pay a $1.4-million penalty for failing to upgrade pollution-control equipment there. Along with the penalty, Ford will continue decommissioning some pollution-generating equipment as production winds down at the gray iron operation in Brook Park, OH.
Prior to its May 2007 decision to close the plant, where Ford produces gray iron engine blocks, the company had in place a modernization program involving two new cupola furnaces. The modernization was to have included a new emissions-control system that would have brought the plant into compliance with air-pollution control regulations.
The decision to close was initially planned for 2009, but later postponed to 2010 as part of a 2007 labor agreement with the United Autoworkers union.
The settlement was reached with Ohio EPA and the Cleveland Division of Air Quality, the agency’s contracted regional representative. In a statement, Ohio EPA said the new furnace system would have reduced particulate emissions (including manganese) from the Cleveland Casting Plant, but that air-emissions analysis indicates the level of manganese released prior to the shutdown is expected to be within federal emissions guidelines and will not pose a potential threat to public health.
Ohio EPA director Chris Korleski stated: "While the settlement allows Ford to gradually wrap up operations without the enhanced pollution control equipment, overall emissions from the facility have decreased in recent years and will continue to drop as the company shuts down additional furnaces, core lines and other casting equipment. This agreement will ultimately resolve all outstanding permitting issues, provide for an orderly end to operations and eliminate all emissions by the end of 2010."