Georgia-Pacific in Crossett, Arkansas Settles EPA Claims of Violations of the Clean Air Act for:
$600,000 Civil Penalty
$2.9 million in Mitigation Project
$2 million in Supplemental Environmental Projects
By Wilma Subra
On December 14, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Georgia-Pacific Chemicals (Chemical Manufacturing Facility) and Georgia- Pacific Consumers Products (Pulp/Paper Manufacturing Facility) in Crossett, Arkansas for violations of the Clean Air Act that were documented in an EPA National Enforcement Investigation Center (NEIC) Inspection that occurred in 2015 at the Georgia-Pacific paper and chemical products facilities in Crossett.
EPA Region 6 had requested the National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC) to perform a Multimedia Compliance Investigation of the Georgia-Pacific Crossett Paper Operations and Chemicals Facility in Crossett, Arkansas.
Both Multimedia Compliance Investigations were performed by the NEIC from February 3, 2015 through February 12, 2015, at the respective facilities.
The NEIC report of the findings and observations for the Georgia-Pacific Chemicals facility was dated July 15, 2015 and for the Georgia-Pacific Crossett Paper Operations, August 14, 2015.
On November 9, 2015, the reports were released to the public. On December 2, 2015, Wilma Subra of Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) presented the information and results from the two NEIC reports of the Georgia-Pacific facilities to the Crossett Concerned Citizens for Environmental Justice at the Living Word Church of God in Christ in Crossett, Arkansas.
The December 14, 2018 settlement required Georgia-Pacific to pay:
$600,000 in Civil Penalties – $300,000 to the United States and $300,000 to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
$2.9 million in a Mitigation Project to reduce Hydrogen Sulfide emissions and odors from the wastewater discharge.
$2 million in three Supplemental Environmental Projects to reduce the potential for Hydrogen Sulfide air emissions from the Georgia-Pacific Wastewater Process (2 projects) and an air monitoring project for Hydrogen Sulfide along the fenceline of the facilities, for at least three years.
The 2015 EPA National Enforcement Investigation Center (NEIC) inspections of the two Georgia-Pacific Crossett facilities on adjoining properties, identified the following:
-A lack of air pollution controls, required under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at the Chemical facility and at the Pulp/Paper facility, of the two wood pulp washers at the facilities.
Georgia-Pacific is required by the terms of the settlement to:
-Install the appropriate pollution controls on the washers.
-Update leak-control and compliance monitoring procedures.
-Conduct emissions and performance testing on other control systems.
The required measurements under the terms of the settlement are designed to achieve reductions of hazardous air pollutants released from the two facilities.
The settlement will further efforts by EPA and ADEQ to address residents’ health and odor complaints stemming from Hydrogen Sulfide emissions from the two Georgia-Pacific facilities.
The measurers required by the settlement are designed to achieve reductions in hazardous air pollutants released from the two Georgia-Pacific Crossett facilities and the installation of $2.9 million in a Mitigation Project to reduce Hydrogen Sulfide emissions and odors from the wastewater discharges.
Wilma Subra of LEAN has provided expert technical assistance, hydrogen sulfide air monitoring, wastewater sampling projects, as well as evaluation of data and presentations to community members, local, state and federal environmental and health agencies, for many years to and on behalf of the Crossett Concerned Citizens for Environmental Justice (CCCEJ).
LEAN’s Board President, Cheryl Slavant, the Ouachita Riverkeeper, has interacted with the Crossett Concerned Citizens for Environmental Justice(CCCEJ) for many years and has focused on projects on the Crossett facility wastewater discharge plume as it is discharged into Coffee Creek and eventually into the Ouachita River.
Tulane Environmental Law Clinic has filed a Title VI complaint with the EPA Administrator and EPA Office of Civil Rights against continuing the NPDES wastewater discharge permit for Georgia-Pacific.
The wastewater issues involved in the EPA settlement include the treatment of wastewater from both the Georgia-Pacific Pulp/Paper Operations and the Georgia-Pacific Chemical Plant in Crossett. The City of Crossett wastewater is handled in the Georgia-Pacific wastewater treatment system.
The proposed settlement is subject to a 30 day public comment period and final court review and approval.