SAN FRANCISO (Legal Newsline) - The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $145,000 Clean Air Act settlement with Thermal Energy Development Partnership.
The company, a biomass electric power plant in Tracy, Calif., was found with failure to properly operate and maintain emission monitoring equipment as stated by the EPA.
"EPA will continue to rigorously enforce against facilities located in the San Joaquin Valley, a geographic focus for our regional Strategic Plan. The message is simple: facilities must comply with the requirements to monitor their pollutants," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "With some of the poorest air quality in the nation, the Valley cannot afford to risk any further deterioration."
According to the EPA, Thermal Energy's monitoring equipment failed to monitor sulfur dioxide for 30 months, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide for 27 months, and opacity for 9 months. There were no known emission violations.
The Clean Air Act violations by Thermal Energy were under the federal New Source Performance Standard. Also considered in the settlement were the federally enforceable San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District permit conditions.
Results for the company's failure to operate emissions monitors properly allow illegal releases of pollutants into the atmosphere. Proper maintenance and operation of emissions monitoring is required by all facilities to measure the release of pollutants and help protect human health according to the Clean Air Act and the EPA.
Particle pollution can cause serious health problems including asthma and premature death in people with heart and lung disease. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide exposure can have seriously affect breathing, cause respiratory illnesses, alter pulmonary defenses, and aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease.