Final Comments to DEQ regarding local polluter Owens-Brockway permit

Comments on the Draft Title V Operating Permit for Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., Permit No. 26-1876-TV-01

In these final comments from the Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), on the permitting of the Owens-Brockway facility site, CAAT re-emphasizes the need for independently verifiable testing and monitoring of pollutant releases for the plant, rather than the current industry provided data, or, projections based on company-reported data. CAAT also insists that DEQ uses its authority to protect the local community’s health by insisting the Owens-Brockway facility install TBACT filters on all dangerous airborne release vectors within the Owens-Brockway site.

CAAT would also like to remind the Oregon DEQ and OHA that if the state does not assume authoritative control over regulation and subsequent negative health effects of ambient metals, HAPs, and other toxic releases from Owens-Brockway, that the state becomes an active participant in harming the community, the population, and local wildlife.

After eight days of air quality registering over 50 and at times close to 100 in terms of the PM 2.5 Air Quality Index, according to the DEQ Helensview monitor (October 16-24, 2018), it is clear that Cully residents being subjected to a toxic stew of nuisance odors, PM, and unfiltered HAPs. These airborne pollutants may includied Chromium, Lead, benzene, and other carcinogens and developmentally dangerous pollutants released from the Owens-Brockway site. During a recent stoppage of the Owens-Brockway facility due to disrupted natural gas supplies, the air was noticeably cleaner and the Helensview monitor indicated that (October 10-15, 2018). The nuisance odors, and the less noticeable toxicity leading to negative health and developmental effects on vulnerable populations, including newborns and elderly, are occurring again, now that the Owens-Brockway facility is up and running. There are three schools, and many gardens and fruits trees, and many families and low-income neighborhoods within a mile of this polluter, Owens-Brockway.

The Owens-Brockway site lacks TBACT filters and DEQ needs to mandate TBACT filters on all furnaces and stacks as a condition for reissuing this permit. The Hazard Index being experienced by local communities from Owens-Brockway pollutant releases must be recognized and protections enforced by state agencies, including Oregon DEQ. Waiting for severe health effects, including death, cancer, and CNS-related childhood ailments from the chronic exposures and synergistic effects of numerous pollutants, would be a terrible crime inflicted by the state on the vulnerable communities living and attending public schools near the Owens-Brockway site. It would also be a continuation of the previous disregard the state of Oregon has inflicted on poor communities and vulnerable and racially-mixed populations.

Again, the severe and negative health effects from the pollutants released from Owens-Brockway unfiltered furnace stacks and hazardous waste management are occurring now. These effects are falling onto and are being breathed in by pregnant women, children, the elderly, community residents, and local fish and wildlife populations subjected to the chemical and ambient metal pollution from the Owens-Brockway facility.

Given the opportunity for exercising authority to protect the health of the people of the state of Oregon, DEQ must insist that issuance of a new permit for Owens-Brockway includes the installation of TBACT filters to filter out the dangerous poisons this company releases on a daily basis into the community, and independent and verifiable monitoring of pollutants from the facility.

 

Owens-Brockway Public Hearing Wednesday, September 19th

 

OwensBrockwayPollutionPermit_DEQMeeting

Owens-Brockway at 9710 NE Glass Plant Road, Portland, OR 97220  releases at least 300 pounds of Lead into the air every year, and released  213 pounds of Chromium in 2016. The company has been fined for sloppy hazardous wast management practices. The facility operates two burners and only one has a fabric filtering device. On Monday, September 10 2018, a fire at the facility resulted in a loss of power. During the power outage, process water flooded the basement and mixed with some oil. Some of the oily water discharged to the stormwater system and made it to Johnson Lake.

The facility is currently up for a renewal of their Title V permit, and Oregon DEQ wants your input. Please attend this meeting at NAYA Family Center, 5135 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR. 97218, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm.

Publlc comments can be made at this meeting, or you can submit comments written by 10/26/2018 (CAAT got an extension) to:

Edith McMorrine
AQ Permit Coordinator
700 NE Multnomah St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97232
503-229-6945         nwraqpermits@deq.state.or.us

Here are some Talking Points:

This meeting will take place on Wednesday September 19, 2018 at NAYA Family Center, 5135 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR. 97218. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm.

Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois (O-I), is located at 9710 NE Glass Plant Road, Portland, OR 97220. Owens-Brockway is a Title V (Title 5) polluter. As such, they are at the highest regulatory level, primarily because of their release of Criteria Pollutants such as Lead and Sulfur Dioxide. 

1: Owens-Brockway released 300 pounds of ambient (airborne) Lead in 2016. 

Lead can accumulate in the body, particularly in bones. Lead can cause brain damage, reproductive problems, high-blood pressure, kidney disease, and nervous disorders.

2: Owens-Brockway released 213 pounds of Chromium in 2016. Chromium has different forms, and there are many negative health effects associated with chromium exposure, including asthma and chronic bronchitis. Chromium6 is a carcinogen.

3: There are three Public Schools within one mile of the Owens-Brockway facility:

◆ Prescott St. Elementary in Parkrose School District
◆ Helensview Alternative High School, Multnomah Education Service District
◆ Sacajawea Headstart, Portland Public Schools

The children, teachers, education workers, and para-educators who attend and work at these schools deserve better protection from industrial pollutants.

4: Owens-Brockway currently only uses one fabric filter on one of their burners. They should be using the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to filter out dangerous pollutants, such as a wet-bag filtering unit, on all of their polluting burners.

5: Owens-Brockway has been fined by DEQ this year for shoddy hazardous waste control. Where did that hazardous waste end up? Did it go into Johnson Lake, just north of Owens-Brockway, and then into the Columbia Slough?

6: Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO) is still being worked on. It is wrong to permit a Title V industrial polluter before CAO is on the books.

7: Other issues: 

  Gardening/Farming and metal contamination; 

  Diminished Property Values

Environmental Justice (Cully has many different and diverse populations, and income levels. Polluting facilities are often located in these types of neighborhoods, by design, because of prior or current racist practices); 

➢ The new Thomas Cully Park, that the city and county spent a whole bunch of money cleaning up, is very close to the pollution source, Owens-Brockway.

 

Letter sent to Owens-Brockway/Owens-Illinois

CAAT penned a letter to local polluter Owens-Brockway, and their parent corporation Owens-Illinois (O-I), regarding their polluting ways. Their permit for polluting Oregon is up for renewal this year. DEQ will have a public hearing on Wednesday, September 19th at NAYA (more on this later.) Thank you to  Portland Clean Air,  East Portland Air Coalition, Verde, Neighbors for Clean Air, and PDX North Harbor Neighbors for signing onto this letter with CAAT.

CAAT Letter to O-I

Our local Oregon State Senators and Reps decided to write their own letter as well, so the pressure is on.

Owens-Brockway_Legislative Letter

Thank You Speaker Tina Kotek,  Representative Barbara Smith Warner,  Representative Tawna Sanchez,  State Senator Lew Frederick, and  State Senator Michael Dembrow for your letter to Owens-Brockway/Owens-Illinois!

O-I, cut your lead and chromium emission down to less than 1% of your current pollution emissions.

 

Final Cleaner Air Oregon comments from CAAT

Cully Air Action Team (CAAT) public comment points for Environmental Quality Control Commission on the topic of Cleaner Air Oregon.

Please consider the below comments as a short list of items that need to be addressed in order to fulfill the Governor’s mandate for health-based regulatory overhaul of air toxics.

First, CAAT would like to recognize the positive aspects of these CAO declarations. The ‘Community Engagement’ (OAR 340-245-0120) provisions seem robust and well-designed, although EPAC’s (Eastside Portland Air Coalition) suggestion of having an ‘ombudsperson’ to oversee effective implementation of outreach and support for all community members would be a welcome insurance of oversight.

The ‘Air Monitoring Requirements’ (OAR 340-245-0240) seem to have been strengthened, and yet the potential loophole for unverifiable self-monitoring results still looms as a real vulnerability. Given past confusion on industrial polluters releases, toxic inventories, and effective containment of hazardous waste, it may very well be major flaw, as well. CAAT encourages the State Agencies to conduct surprise visits to industrial polluters, especially those that have received or are receiving numerous community complaints on nuisance odors, or that are in close proximity to vulnerable populations and K-12 schools, or that use carcinogenic and mutagenic toxins.

CAAT is still very concerned regarding potential misuse and overuse of exemptions to the ‘Risk Reduction Plan Requirements’ (OAR 340-245-0160.) Again, CAAT requests that the state impose a limit on the number of exemptions to be issued under 340-245-0160, whether it is an arbitrary number of 5 total exemptions for the entire state during each five year cycle starting in 2019, or an upper maximum limit of total permits. CAAT feels the agency is perpetuating a loophole within the CAO rules, and reminds the State that exemptions falling under 340-245-0160 should not be handed out merely if a toxic emitter or industrial polluter requests one and follows the DEQ exemption criteria, as has been the case with the past lax permitting structure. 

Another opportunity for community engagement may also exist with implementation of 340-245-0160, if the agency empowers a recognized community advocacy group to become a part of the decision-making process, for or against the issuance of any exemption permit.

CAAT also supports EPAC’s submitted comments and would like to emphasize the importance of Point Six and Point Ten in their “EPAC Public Comment Points for EQC CAO”:

6. Get rid of potential loopholes in the draft rules by eliminating permissive language. Rules should be rules and not loopholes. When using the word “may”, DEQ should provide a limitation on the discretion.

10. Air monitoring should be mandatory and done on a surprise basis. Requiring air monitoring is the first step in restoring public trust. If we don’t know what we are breathing and how much, how is any rule going to be effective? It will also be a good foil against emissions inventories and a way to see if results line up in terms of what industry says they are emitting and what they are emitting.

Lastly, CAAT reminds DEQ and the State that the health of the local community affected by industrial polluters is the primary purpose of this CAO regulatory framework, and whether the cost for treatment of ailments, or providing wrap-around care for sickened children and other individuals, is borne by the State or the polluter is what is of consequence here. CAAT advocates that the polluter should bear the burden, for if they are knowingly pushing toxins into community airsheds, they must be held accountable by the State. These toxins have created negative health effects, such as asthma in children, and are indicated as causative for cancers, autism, neurological disorders, and many other illnesses and diseases which limit life, cause immense suffering, and cost the State a huge amount in associated heath-care costs. The negative effects of airborne pollutant sedimentation and bioaccumulation in Oregon wildlife, local flora and fauna, and home gardens and farms are also of great concern to CAAT. 

The remedy for these injuries would be best accomplished by:

—   eliminating the loopholes mentioned above regarding 340-245-0160;

—   conducting unannounced, surprise, monitoring visits to industrial polluters;

—   and, requiring all industrial polluters to use TBACT filtering and capture devices for pollutants. 

Protecting the health and well-being of the diverse environs and communities in Oregon is an obligation that local industrial polluters must recognize, and commit engineering capacity and resources to, if they want to share the local airshed with the people of Oregon. 

The Cully Air Action Team thanks the EQC for taking the lead in protecting our health and the health of the Oregon wilds. 

DEQ full spectrum air monitor up and running

Here is the DEQ factsheet on the Air Monitor. It is worth looking over. Thanks to Oregon DEQ for listening to the community.

DEQ has set up a full spectrum monitor between Thomas Cully Park and 205 freeway. This is good timing because Thomas Cully Park has it’s Grand Opening this Saturday, June 30th! The new park is a great accomplishment for the people of Cully who advocated for it for so long. We need to insure that the kids playing there, the families picnicking, the lovers strolling, and the flora and fauna have a healthy airshed to breathe in this new park.

The air monitor will record VOCs, as well as lead and PM.  Results should be available by the end of the year, if not sooner.

PSU Ambient Metal Study for Cully released

PSU  has released their study of ambient (airborne) metal pollutants in the Cully neighborhood from testing done last summer. The good news is that lead levels are low, as are cadmium and nickel.  There are elevated arsenic levels, but we have a good bit of native arsenic in our soil environment already.

Thank you to the neighbors who so graciously housed the monitoring equipment, the student scientists at PSU, Dr. Linda George, and Neighbors for Clean Air for making this happen.

To anyone who has lived in or visited the Cully neighborhood, the strange odors are still here: sulfur compounds and diesel PM and other fuel odors.

Next Wednesday, June 27, from 6-7 pm., we will be meeting to discuss how we want to work with DEQ regarding re-permiting the  pollution releases from Owens-Brockway.  Drop me a line if you want the meeting location.

Step-by-step, the air quality is improving, but we have a ways to go.  In the meantime, please look over the attached file.

CullyPSUReport

Oregonian highlights the problem with Owens Brockway

Rob Davis of The Oregonian penned this excellent article.

Owens-Brockway Illinois, June 2018

The article is about lead and other toxic releases from the Owens-Brockway Illinois glass recycling facility near Killingsworth and 205 in the Parkrose /Cully/Sumner neighborhoods of Portland, Ore.  There are three public schools within less than one mile from the facility, and those children are at risk from the ambient lead emissions. So far, Owens-Brockway has refused to install filters or containment bags.

Owens-Brockway’s pollution permits are up for renewal this summer. CAAT will be working with Oregon DEQ to get Owens-Brockway to clean up their pollutant releases. Stay tuned!

SB 1541 and Cleaner Air Oregon

On a call today with Mary Peveto of NCA, CAAT has decided to guardedly endorse the passage of SB 1541. I hope the residents of the Cully neighborhood and Cully Association of Neighbors agree. I think they do. While SB 1541 is a flawed piece of legislation, it is important to be pragmatic right now and ensure adequate funding of DEQ so that Cleaner Air Oregon can be implemented, and so that we can build a strong environmental regulatory structure for the Cully neighborhood and the state of Oregon. CAAT will continue to work with DEQ and OHA to build this framework. I will try to present some more info about this at the next Neighborhood Association Meeting on Tuesday, March 13th.

October 3rd Cleaner Air Meeting

Here is  short update from CAAT, the Cully Air Action Team:

The Porter Yett facility, source of asphalt nuisance odors in Cully, is installing a Blue Smoke reduction device. This may solve the odor problems. In the meantime, please remember to file complaints with DEQ at 1-888-997-7888. Complaints will allow DEQ to gauge the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the new equipment.
CAAT is working with Neighbors for Clean Air and PSU to install four ambient metal air monitors in Cully. The monitors are sited in Cully neighbors yards. Thank you to those Cully residents! The monitors will test for metals in our airshed, such as lead particles from Owens-Illinois Glass recycling. Findings will be analyzed by PSU graduate students under the direction of Dr. Linda George, at PSU. We expect data and results in late 2017. DEQ will also site a full-air toxics (including VOC’s) monitors in winter 2017-18.
Some metals are dangerous, creating massive problems in the human body when bio-accumulated. Metals can float through the air as ambients, covering food crops, and collecting in the soil. VOC’s, like paint thinners, are highly carcinogenic and some are mutagenic. Ambient metals and VOCs also cause respiratory distress, reduced immunological response to colds and viruses, and are indicated in ADHD (cadmium), and causatives for childhood neurological changes (lead, cadmium, et al.)
Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), the statewide shift in how Oregon deals with air pollutants, suffered a setback in the 2017 legislative session. But, it is still moving forward due to an increased awareness and understanding of public health concerns. The setback regards funding DEQ’s implementation of CAO at the state level. One additional area of concern being debated currently regards an increase in the number of cancer deaths allowed in a population living near new and existing polluters. CAAT, and other grassroots organizations, are pressuring DEQ to not make this change, called ‘Risk Action Levels’, in Cleaner Air Oregon legislation. Cancer death levels should be decreased, not increased. Please contact your State Representatives, and Governor Brown, and tell them to decrease the ‘Risk Action Levels’, not increase them. The burden here is on the public, for cancers, other pollution related illnesses, and for paying for treatments. Polluting industries must use the best technology available to move towards zero toxic emissions.
CAAT is trying to do a lot! We still need to research National Guard and Port of Portland pollution, PCB contamination of Johnson Lake and the Columbia Slough, and particulate matter (PM), ‘black soot’, pollution from industry, trains, diesel trucks and busses, and highways. CAAT is looking for people who want to become more involved in protecting our local airshed and environs. Join with CAAT at our Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/groups/CullyStinkTeam, or by e-mailing  gsotir@cullycleanair.org

Neighbors for Clean Air is hosting a community workshop on effective air advocacy and public comments from 5:30-9 p.m. at the NAYA Cafetorium (5135 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97218) on Tuesday, October 3rd. We will be providing dinner, translation services, and childcare for all attendees. Cully’s own CAAT, cullycleanair.org, will be there, as well.