Tag Archives: Owens-Brockway

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.

 

Clean air advocates want large glass processing plant to be an environmental model

O-IA group of Cully neighbors is pushing for environmental improvements inside the operation of a large glass recycler on the neighborhood’s eastern edge, as the company seeks a $4 million tax break in the planned upgrade of its furnaces.

Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., based in Sumner, is requesting a $4 million tax abatement from the city’s Portland Development Commission as part of a $51 million improvement on their two operating furnaces. The furnaces melt pieces of glass, referred to as cullet, sourced from recycling initiatives, into 1 million bottles each day.

The Cully neighbors want to know if the plant is responsible for the arsenic plume identified in its vicinity through a US Forest Service moss study conducted in 2013 and released in its entirety in June.

While arsenic is not believed to be used in the production of glass at the plant, it may be a byproduct of the production process. Other plumes of arsenic identified through the moss data have been linked to glass factories.

In its most recent permit issued by the Oregon Department for Environmental Quality, Owens-Brockway is allowed to release 249 lbs. of lead into the air, which qualifies it for a Title V permit, the highest level of emissions permitted by the US Environmental Protection Agency and DEQ. Not required by law, the plant has no filtration system for its emissions.

DEQ officials made an unannounced visit on June 28, accompanied by EPA officials. It was determined that so-called “fugitive dust emissions” weren’t being properly handled as cullet made its way from the trucks in which it came to the facility’s conveyor chute for melting. The conveyor was also found to have some holes, and dust particles were escaping.

DEQ issued Owens-Brockway a warning letter, asking that it cover its cullet loads while they go from the truck to the chute for processing, that they perform daily visible emissions inspections and record the results, among other things.

Owens-Brockway officials did not return calls and messages seeking comment by press time.

“I want Owens to follow the same law that I and everyone in this community has to follow,” said Gregory Sotir, a member of the Cully Air Action Team, a group of neighbors working on air quality in Cully. “If they break the laws, they need to be held responsible.”

Concurrently, the Portland Development Commission, which is negotiating the company’s tax abatement request on behalf of the City of Portland, is waiting to hear from company officials about a letter it submitted in conjunction with representatives from a dozen local groups and agencies, including the Cully Air Action Team, environmental justice group Verde, area neighborhood associations, and city, county and state officials.

The letter asked for best-practice emissions filtration at the plant, emissions monitoring onsite, as well as fence line monitoring and monitoring at nearby schools. They asked for company investments in local green space in Sumner, a clean up of the toxic Johnson Lake adjacent to the plant, and local preference in employment practices.

Additionally, the letter writers want Owens-Brockway to go above and beyond their permit and follow health-based standards in their emissions, which would be cutting-edge practice in Oregon industry.

“We’re using this as an opportunity to say to the company, ‘There’s a community that really cares about what’s going on, so are you willing to do something to address this as corporate citizen?’ ” said Andy Reed, Enterprise Zone manager for PDC. “ ‘Are you willing to go above and beyond what’s expected?’ We want the project to move forward but in a responsible way.”

Owens-Brockway, a multinational Fortune 500 company, has a decidedly spotty record in the area of environmental protections. This particular plant had numerous violations in 2012 and 2013 in the regulated opacity levels in the emissions coming out of its smokestacks. It received a penalty totaling $33,200 from DEQ for the violations in July of 2013.

The company, a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois, reached a court settlement with the EPA in 2012 to pay nearly $40 million in an Ohio federal court for environmental violations in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Reprinted from the Cully Neighbor News, Cully Association of Neighbors