The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today a consent assessment of civil penalty (CACP) with Covanta Plymouth Renewable Energy, LLC (Covanta Plymouth) to address air quality violations that occurred in 2019 and 2020.
According to the announcement, between June 2019 and June 2020, Covanta’s plant in Conshohocken experienced three unplanned shutdowns due to a loss of power, which resulted in excess emissions, visible fugitive emissions, and odors. The CACP also addresses malodor events.
Causing unpermitted air pollution, not properly using control devices, and causing malodors are violations of the Air Pollution Control Act and the facility’s Title V Operating Permit.
The CACP covers violations that occurred over eight separate days between June 2019 and September 2020, as well as Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems violations and late emission fee payments. In addition to corrective actions currently being identified and implemented, Covanta Plymouth has agreed to pay a $218,393 civil penalty.
The corrective actions are as follows:
- Revised operational procedures to allow for consistent work practices following power losses;
- Electrical upgrades, including repairs and inspections that will improve the reliability of the facility’s primary electrical supply;
- Roof improvements such as refurbishing rooftop vents to better filter emissions and replacing existing silencers to reduce noise impacts associated with safety steam releases; and
- Testing and planned use of an approved foam to more quickly extinguish smoldering refuse during an unplanned shutdown.
“Regardless of the circumstances that cause it, one thing is clear: unpermitted air pollution is unacceptable,” said Southeast Regional Director Pat Patterson. “DEP remains committed to working with facilities as needed to ensure that compliance is met and that issues affecting neighboring communities are addressed.”The $218,383 civil penalty payment will go into the Commonwealth’s Clean Air Fund which is used for the elimination of air pollution.
According to Violation Tracker, Covanta’s plant in Conshohocken has been fined seven times by the Environmental Protection Agency since 2000 for a total of $88,077.