BASF Corp. has agreed to spend more than $1 million to correct alleged pollution problems at its Wyandotte chemical manufacturing facility.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that BASF has agreed to pay a $788,048 penalty for allegedly violating the federal Clean Air Act. The company will spend at least another $250,000 to retrofit or replace municipal diesel engines in Wayne County with certified clean-diesel technologies.
BASF also will improve leak detection and repair practices to avoid future violations. The company has already made changes to its processes to reduce the emission of hazardous air pollutants from the facility.
“As a result of EPA enforcement of the Clean Air Act, people living in Wayne County will breathe cleaner and healthier air,” EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman said in a written statement.
This agreement is part of a national effort by the EPA to target and reduce illegal emissions of air toxics from leaks and reduce excess emissions from facilities that have a significant impact on air quality and health in residential areas.
Emissions of certain air toxics are either known or suspected to cause cancer or birth defects, according to the EPA.
BASF spokeswoman Marika Diamond said the issue spans back to an audit done by the EPA in 2008 for the period dating from 2003 to 2008. The majority of the violations were due to missed inspections, paperwork errors and misinterpretation of federal regulations, she said.
"We have been working with the EPA since the inspection to resolve the issues uncovered by the inspection," Diamond said. "There was never any harm to the environment or to the people in our community. BASF regards the protection of health, safety and the environment as a core value."
BASF took a proactive role in ensuring that part of the money it was paying went to funding an environmental project that benefited the entire area, Diamond said.
"We (the EPA and BASF) worked together on a settlement so that part of the settlement could put back into the local community," she said. "That’s where the $250,000 comes in. ... We are committed to being a good steward of the environment."