(Rick Hickman/American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 10:58 AM
The ghost of PPG’s past seems to persist at Axiall.
Last month, Axiall agreed to pay a $54,000 civil penalty to the state Department of Environmental Quality for violations stemming from a 3-year-old incident when the company was still PPG. Axiall has 30 days to pay the penalty.
The incident occurred in January 2011 when PPG officials neglected to test three roll-off containers of hazardous waste for their toxic levels prior to delivering them to Chemical Waste Management in Carylss for land disposal.
“The containers were sent to Carylss, but they weren’t meant to go there without being tested,” said Greg Langley, DEQ’s press secretary. “(Chemical Waste) can’t receive them unless the hazardous waste is below the level that they are permitted to receive.”
DEQ permits and oversees all of Louisiana’s hazardous waste sites.
When delivered, all three of PPG’s containers held a concentration of 7.02 milligrams per kilograms of hexachlorobutadiene, which exceeded Chemical Waste’s permitted amount of 5.6 milligrams per kilograms.
Hexachlorobutadiene, a colorless liquid with a turpentine-like odor, has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible human carcinogen.
One of PPG’s containers held a concentration of 0.273 milligrams per liters of mercury, which was slightly above Chemical Waste’s permitted concentration of 0.20 milligrams per liters.
Mercury is a naturally occurring heavy metal that is poisonous. Exposure to mercury has been linked to neurological and physical birth defects, as well as impairments in speech, hearing and walking. Mercury exposure has also been linked to muscle weakness, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“When they tested the roll-off containers there was a higher concentration of mercury than was allowed,” Langley said. “But that stuff was then removed to some other place for disposal. None of that stuff was ever released into the environment.”
Langley said Chemical Waste officials rejected PPG’s roll-off containers when they were delivered. A week later, Chemical Waste notified DEQ of PPG’s attempted delivery, stating that “no unauthorized discharge occurred.”
As of presstime, DEQ has not yet received Axiall’s payment, Langley said. He added that Axiall’s payment deadline is July 25.