[Source: Long Beach Press Telegram] One of two metal-processing facilities agreed Wednesday to sharply reduce toxic emissions or shut down parts of its operation.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District and Aerocraft Heat Treating came to an agreement ahead of an administrative hearing held Wednesday to consider regulators’ request that the businesses sharply reduce release of the carcinogen.
A second business, Anaplex Corp., was in negotiations with air regulators to structure a similar deal.
The negotiations came on the heels of demonstrations by community activists responding to the revelation that unusually high levels of hexavalent chromium were found in the air near the businesses.
“We are in the driver’s seat with this agreement,” said Sam Atwood, a district spokesman. “Once trigger levels are reached, the district can shut off all operations involving chromium by midnight that day.”
The five-member hearing board must ultimately approve the deal, and it could ask for more stringent regulations. The board is set to meet again today and consider the two cases separately.
“The purpose is not to shut down any facility,” said the hearing board’s chairman, Edward Camarena. “The purpose is to provide for clean air by requiring these companies to do what is necessary, what is possible.”
Depending on negotiations, the quasi-judicial board will decide how to move forward with Anaplex, which had originally asked to delay the hearing until January to give it time to review key documents from regulators.
Both companies process metal for aerospace and manufacturing parts. The processes used can release hexavalent chromium. In the past, experts have linked prolonged exposure to the substance with increased cancer risk.
Adan Ortega, a spokesman for Anaplex, said the company entered into negotiations later than Aerocraft but was hopeful about reaching a similar agreement. Last month, company President Carmen Campbell released a statement suggesting there could be a “misunderstanding” in the data collected by the district.
The district’s proposed agreement would last two years and could be renewed by the board.
The deal would allow Aerocraft’s emissions to be monitored by district regulators, who could shut down all operations using chromium if the rates reached levels they considered unhealthful.
Source: Long Beach Press Telegram
December 14, 2016