NUPLEX Permit Hearing Results

RESPONSE TO COMMENTS

 

On the Draft Title V Permit

120-97-TV(R2)

 

May 27, 2011

Company:                    Nuplex Resins LLC

Plant Location:            4730 Crittenden Drive, Louisville, Kentucky 40209

Plant ID:                     0185

 

PUBLIC AND U.S. EPA REVIEW

 

On February 12, 2011, the public notice on availability of the draft permit and supporting material for comments by persons affected by the plant was published in The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.  The public comment period expired on March 14, 2011.

 

Comments were submitted from members of the public during the public comment period.  Within the public comment period, written requests were made to provide a public hearing.  A public hearing was held April 13, 2011, with one public notice of the hearing published in The Courier-Journal on March 11, 2011 and a second public notice of the hearing published in The Courier-Journal on March 30, 2011.  Comments were received from members of the public during the public hearing.

 

Attachment A to this document includes the District’s response to the comments and a summary of the comments received.  Attachment B includes the comments received.  Provisions addressing odors were added in the Source-Wide Specific Conditions section of the permit in response to comments received during the public comment period and at the public hearing.  In no case were any emissions standards, or any monitoring, recordkeeping or reporting requirements relaxed.  Please see Attachment A for a detailed explanation of the changes made to the permit.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT A

 

DISTRICT’S RESPONSE TO COMMENTS

 

The District has reviewed and considered all comments received during the public comment period and at the public hearing.  In addressing the comments, the District has summarized the comments and grouped its responses by topic.  In light of the significant overlap between many of the comments received, the District has not responded to each comment individually.  However, a full text of the comments received is included in Attachment B.

 

Comment:       Nuplex Resins should not be issued a Title V operating permit.

 

Response:        A Title V operating permit is being issued to Nuplex to replace the current non-Title V operating permit held by the source.  The annual emission limits in this new permit are the same limits that Nuplex Resins must meet in its current non-Title V permit and significantly lower than the limits generally applicable to Title V sources.  No new construction is being authorized by the issuance of this permit.  The purpose of a Title V operating permit is to consolidate all applicable District and Federal air requirements and the methods for demonstrating continued compliance with these requirements into one document.  The Title V permit program was designed to simplify and clarify businesses’ obligations for complying with the regulations into one document so it is easier for sources to understand and comply with requirements, resulting in improved air quality.

 

Comment:       Permit requirements should alleviate odorous events.

 

Response:        In the proposed Title V operating permit, 120-97-TV(R2), the Source-Wide Specific Conditions were amended to include a standard for odor, pursuant to District Regulation 1.13, Control of Objectionable Odors in the Ambient Air, Section 2.1, to prohibit objectionable odors.

 

To demonstrate compliance with the standard, the District added the following monitoring and recordkeeping requirements for odor to the permit in Source-Wide Specific Condition S2.d. on page 19.

 

1.         The owner or operator shall keep a log for odor complaints and results of a daily survey of odors conducted around the plant property line during normal process operation.  For any odor complaints or any odorous events determined as a result of the daily odor surveys, the owner or operator shall maintain the following records:

 

                                    a.         The date and time of the complaint or odorous event;

b.         A description of the nature of the complaint or odorous event, including the character, time and duration of the event and, if known, the wind direction at the time of the complaint;

c.         Summary information on any causes or reasons determined for each event,

d.         Corrective action taken to minimize the extent of each event, and

e.         Any measures implemented to prevent reoccurrence.

 

2.         The owner or operator shall notify the District of any odor complaints within one business day of receiving the complaint.

 

The District also added the following reporting requirement for odor to the permit in Source-Wide Specific Condition S3.d. on page 20.

 

The owner or operator shall report the aforementioned recorded information to the District.  If there were no odorous events recorded during a reporting period, the compliance report must include a statement that there were no odorous events recorded during the reporting period.

 

Comment:       Nuplex should not be granted a permit because they do not comply with their current permit.

 

Response:        The District is authorized to enforce requirements established under the federal Clean Air Act and District regulations.  If compliance is not maintained, the District has the authority to take enforcement action.

 

Following an investigation, the District has issued a Notice of Violation to Nuplex, alleging failure to control objectionable odors during three separate events in 2008 and 2010 and failure to properly report excess odor emissions to the District following two of those events.  A copy of the Notice of Violation and incident reports are available upon request to the District.

 

Nuplex has responded to the Notice of Violation and is cooperating with the District regarding corrective measures.  In the resolution of the enforcement case the District will call upon the company to study sources of off-property odors from the plant and to make improvements to minimize odors.

 

The District’s allegations of violation relate to episodes of noncompliance, rather than a continuing violation that might prevent the issuance of a Title V permit.  It is the District’s position that Nuplex can, and usually does, operate in compliance with the District’s regulations and its Title V permit.

 

Comment:       Residents are concerned about releases from Nuplex and question how the neighborhood will be notified in the event of a chemical spill.

 

Response:        Emergency notification is handled by MetroSafe.  In order to improve emergency notification, the Mayor announced on March 23, 2011, that Metro Government will be purchasing an alert system capable of being used throughout the city to inform the public about emergencies. Proposals for the system were requested in April.


ATTACHMENT B

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

The following comments were received via email from members of the public during the public comment period.

 

Comment Date

Commenter

Comments

2/22/11 Randy Clark I am writing because after all we have been through with the Nuplex  discharges over the past 30 years, now you are considering a “DISCHARGE PERMIT” that would give this repeat violator permission to discharge.  Nuplex has been discharging illegally over the years, mostly at night, and when we call air pollution to file a complaint it is after working hours and later during the day when the check is made the discharging has stopped and the volatile compounds have dissipated.

Please consider this as my public comment!

 

I request a public hearing so we who have been poisoned and fumigated in the past can be heard.

2/22/11 Jeff Miller The residents in the vicinity of Nuplex would like to voice concerns in regard to the change request in the status of Nuplex air permits (listed below), will you please help them get this opportunity?
2/22/11 Phyllis Roy They have already caused contaminates in the sewer system that caused an awful odor in the entire area for weeks last year.  Every time you pass by their plant while driving on Crittenden Dr. there is a bad odor.  I have family that live on 2nd street close to Woodlawn with a 3 year old and when I visit them the air has an odor totally different from my home which is on Southern Pkwy a mile away.

Louisville, especially south/central Louisville is getting so bad I’m afraid to live here, yet can’t afford to leave.  I personally have had my car broken into twice and vandalized sitting in front of my house with a street light shining on it.  My son had an alarm put on it in addition to the one that came from the manufacturer for Mothers Day last year. We need some help with pollution, crime and clean up.  Our neighborhoods are crumbling and the only people getting help don’t contribute by paying taxes or putting any effort into anything but complaining or destroying what others have worked and paid for.

Please don’t add to our distress by letting our air become even more contaminated.

2/23/11 Cherie Wentworth I am sending you this email because after all we have been through and continue to endure with Nuplex, you are now considering a “DISCHARGE PERMIT” that would give this repeat violator permission to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into our air and into our neighborhoods further degrading our quality of life and enjoyment of our homes.

 

Nuplex has a history of discharging VOCs after hours and during the weekends. We call air pollution to file a complaint but it is usually after working hours for your organization and although the inspectors do come; it is later during the day when the release has stopped and the odors have dissipated.

 

I humbly request a public hearing so we who have been adversely affected, now and in the past, can be heard before this permit is considered.

2/24/11 Donna Ball I am against giving Nuplex permission to release their pollution into the air or water.  One morning I awoke to the smell of chemicals in my whole house, I had no idea at the time it was Nuplex.

Frantically I emptied the basement of every chemical, made phone calls, googled it, had a HVAC person come over.  I think  it was 2 days later before I knew what had happened.

2/25/11 Deveney French I received notice that Nuplex Resins LLC located at 4730 Crittenden Drive is requesting a Title V Operating Permit pursuant to local and federal regulations.  I live near this facility; and, as a local resident, I request that you deny this request, or at the very least hold a public hearing as prescribed in Regulation 2.07 and per 40 CFR Section 70.7(h).  I make this request on the basis that Nuplex has occupied its current location for several years; and during that time Nuplex has been a nuisance to the surrounding community, repeatedly in violation of local and federal laws and fined accordingly, and is currently subject to a class action lawsuit due to their poor business conduct.

It is unacceptable that this company, which has so negatively affected the surrounding neighborhood and has been in flagrant violation so many times in the past, should now be granted license to do the very things that have caused so much grief to the local residents.  The odors from Nuplex have reached my home, even at such a distance, and the fumes are nauseating.  I cannot imagine how it must be for those living closer to the Nuplex facility.  Not to mention the fact that most of this is done at night, under the cover of darkness.  It is disgusting that this sort of behavior is allowed to persist.

I implore you not to send such a terrible message to businesses in our community: that with the right amount of patience and money they can receive the imprimatur of the government, even when they are such poor corporate citizens.

2/25/11 Regina Roebuck I am writing to request a public hearing regarding the issuance of a discharge permit to Nuplex.

 

I am quite frankly dismayed that the Air Pollution Control Board would consider granting a discharge permit to a company with a documented history of repeatedly discharging illegally.  Residents of the south end endure almost daily the odors given off by Nuplex’s illegal night time discharges.  We deserve the opportunity  – if not the courtesy – of a public meeting.

2/26/11 Dottie Krause I am aware of the  Nuplex Resins LLC located at 4730 Crittenden Drive  requesting a Title V Operating Permit.  I live near this facility and am currently, and have been for years, smelling noxious, toxicating orders because this company is currently dumping into the sewer after hours when the authorities who would check on this are gone for the day.  By the time they return during normal business hours, the company has had sufficient time to do whatever (?) to diminish the effects of their actions from the night before. As a resident forced to share the environment with this unlawful company, I am appealing to your authority to  please deny this request. Also, would you please consider holding a public hearing on the issue before any permit is granted.

Thanks for your consideration in this matter.

2/27/11 Lynore A. Yates It has come to my attention that Nuplex LLC, located at 4730 Crittenden Drive has applied for a Title V Operating Permit.

 

While I do not live in the immediate neighborhood, I do drive through the area on a daily basis to go to work.  While driving through the Crittenden Drive, I-264 area, I have been inundated with a very strong chemical odor which clings to the upholstery of my vehicle, and will make me extremely nauseous.

 

I am appalled that a permit may be granted to this company to enable them to continue to emit these odors into the ground and air.

 

I implore you to reconsider any approval of this request, and at a minimum request a public hearing concerning these issues.

 

Thank you for your time in this matter,

2/28/11 Roger and Carol Schaf Having received notice that Nuplex Resins LLC, 4730 Crittenden Drive, Louisville, KY has applied for an Operating Permit to discharge from their plant site, we would like to state that we strongly oppose issuance of this permit.

Being a close neighbor to Nuplex Resins LLC, we have been exposed to the appalling stench of chemical odors over the years as Nuplex has continually discharged their residue into the air and the ground.  We consider it noteworthy that Nuplex is currently being sued in a Class Action Lawsuit regarding their actions, and feel that is would be prudent to disallow all permits being issued to a company that has repeatedly shown that they hold being a good “corporate neighbor” and current regulations in such low regard.

We are asking that you veto the request being filed by Nuplex LLC to allow emissions into the atmosphere in accordance with Regulation 2.16.    At the very least, we request a public hearing to be held pursuant to this matter in accordance with Regulation 2.07.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

2/28/11 Ray Manley Councilman Johnson is receiving considerable email concerns about Nuplex Resins LLC, 4730 Crittenden Drive being granted some sort of new operating permit.  He feels that with the recent problems with this complex that any application should be accompanied by a public hearing.
3/1/11 Michelle Miller I live at 4564 S. 1st street and am writing this to you to complain about the Nuplex Company Air pollution in our neighborhood. I am eight months pregnant and have two children 4 and 2 years old. Just last week at dinner time, 6:30pm, I had plans to be outside enjoying the beautiful day and the air was so strong with a chemical smell I was afraid to be out there in it OR let my kids play in their own backyard! I am not sure what was in the air, but my 4 year old came in after being outside for just 10 minutes coughing and coughing. I hope it wasn’t due to the chemicals in the air! Please, please do something about this! It seems so unfair that the air I am breathing outside my home feels like it is harmful to our health. Something here isn’t right! Thank-you for listening and understanding my concern – I am just one small voice compared to the huge company down the road.
3/1/11 Michelle Miller I live at 4564 S. 1st street and am writing this to you to complain about the Nuplex Company Air pollution in our neighborhood. I am eight months pregnant and have two children 4 and 2 years old. Just last week at dinner time, 6:30pm, I had plans to be outside enjoying the beautiful day and the air was so strong with a chemical smell I was afraid to be out there in it OR let my kids play in their own backyard! I am not sure what was in the air, but my 4 year old came in after being outside for just 10 minutes coughing and coughing. I hope it wasn’t due to the chemicals in the air! Please, please do something about this! It seems so unfair that the air I am breathing outside my home feels like it is harmful to our health. Something here isn’t right! Thank-you for listening and understanding my concern – I am just one small voice compared to the huge company down the road.

 

Also, please don’t allow them to have a permit that gives them the ability to release these strong odors into the air! – referring to regulations 2.07 and 2.16.

3/1/11 Jeff Miller I am a concerned citizen in the general vicinity of Nuplex Resins LLC, located at 4730 Crittenden Drive.  The reason for this letter is in  regard to a request by Nuplex to obtain a Title V Operating Permit.  I want to see a public hearing take place to give the residents near this facility the  opportunity to voice concerns in person in regard to any change in how this business is permitted to conduct its affairs.  The neighbors who are impacted the greatest by the actions of this facility need to be heard.

 

As an arm of government created to protect the public from environmental harm, I want you to consider the health and wellness of those in need of protection from manmade hazards.  I would like to convey a message on behalf of the Beechmont Neighborhood Association for the people who reside within a few blocks of this facility.  I know they would want you to hear examples of how negatively they have been affected by this corporate neighbor.  Thank you for your time regarding this matter.

3/7/11 Joyce and Robert Hornback Please be aware that as a resident of the Beechmont Neighborhood, We are very concerned about the possibility that you may grant Nuplex another permit to discharge waste from their plant site. We would like to appear at any type of hearing that might take place or if not scheduled would strongly advise that you do schedule one that the residents that have been so negatively affected may attend. We are in opposition to any permit being granted to Nuplex after what happened last year. How could you possibly grant a permit to a company that has a history of discharging such toxic waste into our neighborhood to the point of polluting our ground? The smell was so strong and obnoxious that is was sickening. This is a highly toxic material and the residents that live within several miles of the plant are negatively affected. I understand that there may be a class action suit against Nuplex and I’m sure that if you grant another permit to discharge the same toxic material into the environment, wouldn’t that also make you liable for any damages to the residents in the close proximity? Please be very careful what you might do to those living here. Would you want this in your own back yard or for your own children to play on ground that has been highly polluted by such a nasty smelling noxious material? I hope you give the residents a chance to speak out against this horrible release of emissions into the atmosphere.

 

The following comments were received in person from members of the public during the public hearing.

 

Commenter Summary of Comment
Jeff Miller Hello, my name is Jeff Miller and I reside at 1014 West Ashland Avenue, 40215. I want to say thank you to the members of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control Board for deciding to invite input at this special session on their decision for the Nuplex application. I understand that you have a difficult job managing the needs of the city and the company and the residents when interpreting and applying regulations that must be adhered to. I have a strong belief that transparency and accountability are important with regard to companies that produce and disperse hazardous and toxic pollutants, just as I as a homeowner must be held accountable for unresolved home maintenance issues. A leaky pipe is a leaky pipe, no matter who owns it. With recent headlines of an explosion, an ammonia leak, and the Nuplex chemical spill last year, I hope that this board will take action that gives us peace of mind, and to be able to not have the worry that Beechmont residents are breathing in toxins like ethyl benzene due to its cancer-causing properties. I am also interested to learn about the testing enforcement that will be conducted at this facility to reduce its impact on the environment. Our feeling is that stronger emissions standards are long overdue. Again, thank you for this opportunity.
Corey Harrison Hello, my name is Corey Harrison and I reside at 148 Gillette Avenue, 40214. I first would also like to thank the board for hearing us today. I come to you as a representative of my community to say that my family has a lot of hardships. We’re modest hard working people. We don’t complain, but we love living in Jefferson County and in Louisville. We live, work, and play here. I hike avidly. I walk my dog for miles at a time in the neighborhood and you cannot escape the smell that comes from Nuplex. It’s hard. At points it’s so strong it makes your eyes water. I ask you humbly and plead for your mercy and say please deny the application for Nuplex. And let us live and be happy in Jeffersonville in a happy and healthy way, or Jefferson County rather, in a happy and healthy way. Thank you.
Vanessa Whitworth Thank you for the opportunity to come down and have this as an open meeting. My name is Vanessa Whitworth and I live at 4723 South 6th Street, 40214. That’s between Bluegrass and Woodlawn, just off Southern Parkway. There are times that the chemical smell in our neighborhood… you can almost taste it-especially in the hot months it’s muggy. It seems like the chemicals just hang over in the neighborhood and you can actually taste it in your mouth. And I would like for you to make sure when you’re renewing this permit that you also find out in the current events that’s happened here in Louisville some other plants that create products and work with chemicals they’ve had some accidents. People have been harmed. And I would like to know what you and Nuplex have worked out if we do have some kind of chemical spill. Will we be notified? I noticed a lot of the articles in the Courier-Journal that covered these recent accidents. Some of the titles in the articles are “warnings, alerts, blast, injures, one person killed, victims.” Those are all scary words and I know these industries have been here a while and they want to continue to work. But what is in place if there is another accident at this location? How are we going to be warned? You know, you can wait and be in your own home, but how are we going to be notified? How’s everyone be notified-radio, TV, newspaper? When the event’s happening, it’s pretty scary. My mother is a lung cancer survivor and on oxygen and just some typical smells like colognes and things like that really aggravate her. I have an extra concern for her. If I’m at work and one of these accidents might happen, how can I get to her and what will happen to her? Because of being on the oxygen, she already has trouble breathing. So I just would like to know what do you have in place between you and Nuplex? If there is another accident, have you thought about that and have you made Nuplex submit some type of plan that if something did happen how would our community quickly be helped? Please make those considerations when you’re renewing this new five-year renewal. Thank you.
Cherie Wentworth Hello, my name is Cherie Wentworth. I live at 141 Gillette Avenue. I’m here today to talk to you about Nuplex. When the Nuplex incident happened in February of last year, it took us four days to get any proper information. Nuplex, the smell of Nuplex alone on that day burned our nose, our eyes, made us sick. We did not get the proper information for four days. Nuplex-I understand that business is amoral and things of that nature-that’s fine, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is being a good neighbor. I’m not anti-business. I want Nuplex to be a good neighbor. Right now, they’re not. I would like for you all to look very carefully at Nuplex. Please look very carefully. These are human lives-we’re not numbers, we’re not house numbers, we’re not… we are humans, we are families. We want to be able to enjoy our homes. We can’t walk the block without smelling this. We can’t have cookouts because we’re so embarrassed of the smell. Please, please look at this. Please, when you make your consideration, please think about the families that live here. We deserve to have a clean neighborhood that’s free from xylene, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene. These are things you would not put in your house. These are things that you do not want to smell. They’re horrible. They’re absolutely horrible. Please, let the checks and balances work. Please take a hard look at Nuplex before you approve. Thank you.
Linda S. Taylor My name is Linda Taylor and I live at 4618 South Sixth Street. I’m involved in the Beechmont Neighborhood Association. I’m on the board. We’ve been very involved in the problems with Nuplex. I travel in the vicinity over there and at night in the evenings and a lot of times on Sunday you come across the overpass there off Crittenden Drive you will smell Nuplex. Sometimes it does drift into our neighborhood as far away as we are. But I’d like for you to consider one thing: Nuplex has had a lot of violations and they’ve been fined, and they just pay the fine and continue. And I do think that it would be good for you all to take a close look at that part of it too and make some kind of arrangements with Nuplex about a stronger warning if something does happen. And that’s it.
Gary Guss I’m Gary Guss. I’m with the Beechmont Neighborhood Association. I’m on the Board. I live at 4510 South Sixth Street. We’ve had a lot of issues with Nuplex in terms of air quality issues in the neighborhood. Oft times we get a lot of odor at night. I don’t know if they’re emptying out the reactor vessels or what they’re doing or cleaning or what it is but we do have a lot of odor issues. It’s a sweetish, sweet kind of odor. Smells like it might be an amine or some sort of acrylic monomer. Anyway, I’d like to see if you guys could take a look at the permitting for this plant and make sure they’re in compliance with all the laws and regulations that you have on the books and vigorously enforce them. Thank you.

 

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