Cognis, U.S. EPA Enter Into Emissions Agreement

Cognis Corp. announced it has entered into a consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region V, regarding compliance to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (a.k.a. PharmaMACT regulation) at its Kankakee, Ill., USA facility.

"The alleged violations center on the fact that we did not have all the required administrative records and procedures in place to demonstrate full compliance with the regulation," said Dennis Ohlmansiek, site director, in a prepared statement. "I can assure you that at no time did we cause any harm to the environment and that we were always in compliance with our emissions limits. Nonetheless, we regret that the violations occurred."

Since late 2003, the Cognis Kankakee facility reportedly has been working with the U.S. EPA to improve the compliance system. All violations alleged by the EPA have been corrected and Cognis has a clear understanding of what it takes to maintain compliance. As a result of this agreement, Cognis Corp. will pay a cash penalty of US$70,000 and invest at least $310,000 in projects to reduce air emissions at the Kankakee facility.

The projects, according to the company, include replacing threaded piping with welded pipe; installing "no emission" pumps at strategic stages of the process; and enhancing the emission leak detection and repair program.

"We made a diligent effort to comply with this complicated regulation. In many instances, we relied on the advice of independent consultants, but in the eyes of the U.S. EPA we 'missed the mark,'" said Ohlmansiek, in the press release. "We appreciate the U.S. EPA allowing us to redirect some portion of the penalty dollars into investments which will improve the environment."

Cognis's Kankakee facility manufactures natural source vitamin E and sterols for the supplement and health food markets; polyamide resins for the inks, coatings and adhesives industries; and surfactants for the cosmetic industry.

More in Companies