PPG receives water quality discharge permit from West Virginia DEP
Plant continues work to reduce mercury emissions
PPG Industries’ (NYSE: PPG) Natrium manufacturing facility here received a new water discharge permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and continues its effort to further reduce mercury discharges.
“We are pleased to receive the new permit,” PPG Natrium Plant Manager Jim Rock said. “It will allow us to continue to operate in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. PPG remains committed to the Natrium plant and the surrounding communities.”
Water discharged from the facility must meet limits in the permit, including one for mercury at 143 parts per trillion (ppt). The permit requires PPG to meet mercury limits of 12 ppt as soon as practical, but no later than October 2013.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a drinking water standard of 2,000 ppt for mercury, which is more than 100 times higher than the 12 ppt water quality limit established for the Ohio River. Health studies completed in 2006 by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) found that exposures to mercury by people living near the PPG facility were comparable to those of the general population. Similarly, the report found no concern with drinking water.
PPG has invested significantly to reduce mercury discharges. From 2004 to 2006, the Natrium plant reduced its mercury emission rate by more than 70 percent. PPG will spend about $1.5 million this year to further reduce mercury discharges from the facility.
“Despite numerous chemical plant closures in this region the last 15 years, PPG continues to invest in the Natrium facility and is committed to continued operation here. What’s more, we are dedicated to continuous reductions in mercury,” said PPG General Manager of Chlor-Alkali and Derivatives Sales and Operations Doug Pegg. “However, mercury-free technology is not an economically feasible option for this location. Current conditions in the competitive chemicals industry do not justify the investment necessary for implementing alternative technology at Natrium.”
PPG’s Natrium facility produces premium grade caustic chemical product for making products such as pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, rubber goods, paints and bulletproof vests.
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