Herald American

AQMD reaches agreement with Paramount plant

PARAMOUNT — The South Coast Air Quality Management District board and the metal processing plant Anaplex reached an agreement on a plan to reduce emissions at a hearing Jan. 10.

“I’m glad we reached agreement, as our shared goal with regulators and the community is to reduce pollution and improve the health of the community,” Anaplex President Carmen Campbell said.

In November, the AQMD petitioned its hearing board to issue an order of abatement to Anaplex and Aerocraft, another metal processing facility, for their release of hexavalent chromium, a cancer-causing compound.

The hearing board began reviewing the case Dec. 14 at the AQMD headquarters in Diamond Bar, a review that is continuing.

Stipulations in the order of abatement include banning the plant from operating any piece of equipment capable of generating chromium hexavalent emissions if results from AQMD air monitoring exceed 1.0 nanogram per cubic meter.

If the district finds that emissions have exceeded the limit, it will issue a curtailment notice, after which the plant must cease operations the same day. It can resume once the air level is stabilized.

The hearing also determined that Anaplex could maintain and operate its own chromium hexavalent monitor with district approval. According to the order, the district will review Anaplex’s plan within seven days of submittal.

But, while the AQMD may consider the plant’s evidence, it does not have to use it in determining its chromium hexavalent emissions.

“We’re very pleased that Anaplex has agreed to this,” said Sam Atwood, media relations manager for the AQMD. “More needs to be done, but this is a great first step to ensure the company is not emitting high levels of a pollutant.”

Anaplex noted the steps it had taken to reduce pollution as of Jan. 4. Those included discontinuing the spray paint application of primers that contain chromium compounds, closing the access doors that face Garfield Avenue and shutting down or removing certain tanks.

The plant received a clean bill of health from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the AQMD plans to enforce a roof-and-facility cleaning plan by Jan. 17.

The investigations in Paramount began in 2013, when residents complained of a metallic odor. After monitoring the air, the AQMD found two metals of concern: hexavalent chromium and nickel, a toxic metal that affects the lungs.

The AQMD targeted Carlton Forge Works, a metal-processing operation, to improve its pollution controls. That reduced the presence of nickel but not the hexavalent chromium.

When the agency resumed its investigation last October, it uncovered hexavalent chromium upwind of Carlton Forge Works. The compound was found at more than 350 times normal levels.

The AQMD determined Anaplex and Aerocraft, a heat-treating firm for aircraft manufacturing, as the likely culprits. Both companies serve aviation industries and are located about three or four blocks from each other.

Hexavalent chromium compounds are used as pigments in dyes, paints, inks and plastics. They also are added to paints, primers and other surface coatings as an anticorrosive agent.

The public is invited to join a weekly conference call on the status of AQMD’s Paramount activities every Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m. To participate, call (866) 244-8528 and use the passcode 4063768.

The calls are listen-only, however questions may be submitted by email during the call to publicadvisor@aqmd.gov. Questions are answered during the call in the order received.