Decree: S.H. Bell to monitor, measure magnesium emissions

EAST LIVERPOOL — A final consent decree was announced Wednesday between the S.H. Bell Co., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding magnesium emissions from the Michigan Avenue company.

Under the consent decree, the company, according to a USEPA release, is required to monitor and take measures to reduce magnesium emissions from its 92-acre raw products storage and material handling facility located on the border of East Liverpool and Ohioville, Pa.

Both immediate and long-term reductions in fugitive manganese emissions must be addressed by S.H. Bell as part of the consent decree, and the USEPA noted the company has actually been taking these measures since January 2017, when the consent decree was lodged in federal court.

The safeguards required in the consent decree include:

— Fugitive dust control measures such as rolling doors and a baghouse with monitoring/recording systems

— A tracking system for manganese materials

— Video recordings of certain facility operations to help the company and regulators determine the source of manganese emissions detected in the future

— Fence line monitoring with EPA-approved monitors

— Required steps to investigate and, if needed, take corrective action if emissions exceed specified trigger levels.

The company is required by the consent decree to collect air monitoring data from three fence line locations surrounding the facility and take specific actions if its monthly or annual ambient air manganese concentrations exceed certain action levels.

“S.H. Bell’s East Liverpool facility is already in full compliance with the U.S.EPA consent decree, and we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on enhanced dust control measures,” company officials said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees and community and will continue to comply with all federal, state and local regulations.”

According to the USEPA, the consent decree is based on the government’s authority under the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the Superfund law).

The federal action builds upon steps previously taken by the Ohio EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the USEPA added.

The EPA website (https://www.epa.gov./oh/eastliverpool-ohio-and-glasgow-borough-pennsylvania-air-monitoring-data) contains air monitoring data collected at S.H. Bell’s fence line from Aug. 20, 2017, onward as well as reports relating to any exceedances of the action levels.

Manganese is a naturally occurring element found in many soils, rocks and foods which is also used in the production of steel and industrial processes. It can be toxic when inhaled by humans at elevated exposure levels, leading to neurological and neuropsychological damage.

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