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EPA Touts Enforcement Success for Chemical, Water, Air Violations in Kentucky

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The federal government is touting its environmental enforcement efforts from 2014 across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency says during the fiscal year, its actions reduced about 141 million pounds of air pollutants and 337 million pounds of water pollutants. Four of the cases the agency wrapped up this year were in the Louisville area.

Two of those cases were administrative violations that carried hefty penalties. The EPA fined the Purnell Sausage Company in Simpsonville $72,100 for not having an appropriate risk management plan in place for its chemical handling. A chemical company called RussTech Admixtures paid $18,075 for not submitting inventory reports on a toxic chemical, as is required by law.

Charter Communications paid $57,313 for Clean Air Act violations at 136 facilities around the country. One of those facilities is on Ormsby Park Place in Louisville.

The last violation didn’t carry a fine at all. The EPA cited American Synthetic Rubber for violating national air quality standards by releasing a number of chemicals from one of its tanks. According to the EPA’s summary of the charges, the EPA discovered pollution was leaking from a flange covering an opening on the top of a tank in December 2013. The chemicals leaking included toluene, which is a hazardous chemical that’s used to make rubber and is dangerous if inhaled in large quantities. That release was an issue for at least three months; the EPA didn’t issue a compliance order until April 28.

In 2014, the EPA also required coal company Alpha Natural Resources to spend $200 million to reduce water pollution near its coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

There's a cool interactive map here.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.