NEWS: Olympia plant agrees to settlement for violations of air quality requirements

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) approved a settlement with Crown Cork & Seal Company (Crown) over past violations of their air permit terms and general air quality regulations. Crown operates an aluminum can manufacturing facility in Olympia. Crown has agreed to pay a $1.9 million settlement and has addressed the issues identified in these violations.

Beginning in February 2021, ORCAA issued a series of Notices of Violation (NOVs) to Crown, following the discovery of Crown’s construction on its plant expansion and equipment replacements prior to obtaining the required permits. Nine separate violations occurred over a nearly 3-year period beginning in January 2021. In addition, Crown’s operations resulted in exceedance of emission limits for air pollutants during spring 2021, and failure to adequately monitor compliance with emission limits. ORCAA closely monitored Crown’s operations during this period and is satisfied that Crown has adequately addressed the issues identified in the NOVs.

Crown’s plant expansion project triggered new air permitting requirements which have resulted in significant decreases in emissions of air pollutants from the facility, compared to the permitted historical emissions.

“While the results of this project are significant decreases in emissions from the facility, Crown violated air quality regulations in several important areas along the way,” said Jeff Johnston, ORCAA’s Executive Director.  “Approval from ORCAA must be obtained before beginning construction on projects like this to ensure the facility is built in a way that complies with all air quality regulations. Crown did not wait for ORCAA approval before beginning construction on the plant expansion project. In addition, once completed Crown failed to operate the air pollution control devices as specified in their permits.”

This marks the largest penalty ever collected by ORCAA.

While the violations were serious, Crown worked closely with ORCAA staff to bring the facility back into compliance with its permit terms. As the issues were identified, Crown’s local staff and those from the company’s headquarters actively sought resolution and worked closely with ORCAA’s compliance team.

The Details

The approved settlement agreement is for $1,945,305 and resolves all outstanding NOVs issued to Crown by ORCAA. Settlement figures for the nine individual NOVs range from $18,000 to $744,000. Details of the violations include:

  • Failed to obtain approvals prior to commencing construction on the can lines.
  • Used a can coating material that exceeded a permit limit.
  • Operated the can coating lines while bypassing emission control equipment, causing formaldehyde emissions to exceed the permitted limit.
  • Failed to monitor compliance with several emission limits.

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ORCAA is responsible for enforcing federal, state, and local air quality regulations in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties. Our mission is to promote air quality and take actions that protect the health and welfare of people and the natural environment.

Find out more About ORCAA here.

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