BALTIMORE -– Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler announced Tuesday that his office reached a settlement with PPG Industries Inc. over allegations the company polluted Maryland air and water.
The Pittsburgh-based company's Natrium plant, which sits on the Ohio River in West Virginia, has been accused of emitting excuse mercury into adjacent Maryland.
Under the terms of the settlement, PPG must reduce mercury emissions to no more than 150 pounds per year by 2011 and no more than 145 pounds per year by 2013 or the company could face penalties of up to $240,000 a year.
The company must also work towards replacing its existing mercury-based production process at the Natrium facility with mercury-free technology, according to Gansler.
"As we develop new strategies and increase enforcement efforts to clean up Maryland's air and water, we must look at pollution sources emanating outside the State," Gansler said. "Today's agreement includes strict penalties, regular monitoring, and a commitment from PPG to decommission the mercury-based technology."
From October 2005 to March 2006, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials identified the West Virginia facility as a "high priority violator" under the Clean Air Act.
According to EPA data on mercury deposits, Maryland ranks among the worst states with large deposits of the hazardous chemical, which has resulted in many of the state's rivers and lakes being labeled as "impaired."
West Virginia's Natrium plant is only one of four, out of 119 chlorine facilities, to use mercury based products.