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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2005

Beryllium firm to pay $276,289 in penalties

ELMORE - Brush Wellman Inc. has agreed to pay more than $275,000 to settle violations of air-pollution reporting requirements at its beryllium plant in Elmore, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday.

The company will pay a penalty of $256,289 to EPA, with half going to the Ohio Environmental Education Fund and half being used to administer air-pollution control programs. Brush also will pay $20,000 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry to fund tree planting in urban areas.

"It's numerous violations rolled into one, which is why the penalty is so high," said Dina Pierce, an EPA spokesman.

The violations, which occurred between 1980 and 2004, included failing to monitor or record information related to more than 15 pieces of emission-control equipment and the loss of data logs for one device between Nov. 15, 2000, and Jan. 17, 2001, Ms. Pierce said.

Brush Wellman also failed to properly monitor emissions of carbon monoxide for an arc furnace and emissions of nitrogen oxide for a copper-beryllium coil strip pickling line, according to EPA.

Ms. Pierce said the company did not disclose in its original permit application for the furnace, issued in 1980, that it anticipated releasing more than 250 tons of carbon monoxide per year. In addition, Brush Wellman did not have the correct permit for the pickling line, she added.

The company addressed the carbon monoxide emissions in

a request in 2003 for a permit renewal for the furnace, said Arthur Pepper, director of plant administration for the Elmore facility.

"We reported that [to EPA] as an oversight," he said. "We're working with them right now on the compliance and on modifying the permit." Mr. Pepper said.

Ms. Pierce said Brush Wellman notified EPA by letter in February, 2004, that it had stopped operating the pickling line.

She there's no evidence that Brush Wellman exceeded pollutant emission levels under the U.S. Clean Air Act.

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