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Aleris International Clean Air Act Settlement

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - August 4, 2009) Aleris International Inc., one of the nation's largest aluminum recyclers, and 13 of its subsidiaries have committed to implementing environmental improvements and controls projected to cost $4.2 million at 15 plants located in 11 states, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

Overview of Company and Location of Facilities

Aleris International, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with corporate headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio. Aleris owns and operates three secondary aluminum production facilities and is also the parent company of each of the following companies, which collectively own and operate 12 additional secondary aluminum smelting facilities:

  • Aleris International, Inc.
  • IMCO Recycling of Illinois, Inc.
  • IMCO Recycling of Michigan L.L.C.
  • Alumitech of West Virginia Inc.
  • Rock Creek Aluminum
  • IMSAMET of Arizona
  • Commonwealth Aluminum Lewisport, L.L.C.
  • IMCO Recycling of Idaho, Inc.
  • Alsco Metals Corporation
  • Alchem Aluminum, Inc.
  • Alchem Aluminum Shelbyville, Inc.
  • Commonwealth Aluminum Concast, Inc.
  • IMCO Recycling of Ohio, Inc.
  • Alumitech of Wabash, Inc.

The fifteen facilities covered by this settlement are located in 11 states:

  • Arizona (Goodyear, AZ)
  • Idaho (Post Falls, ID)
  • Illinois (Chicago s, IL)
  • Indiana (Wabash, IN)
  • Kentucky (1 facility each in Lewisport and Morgantown, KY)
  • Michigan (1 facility each in Coldwater and Saginaw, MI)
  • Ohio (Uhrichsville, OH)
  • Oklahoma (Sapulpa, OK)
  • Tennessee (1 facility each in Loudon and Shelbyville, TN)
  • Virginia (Richmond, VA)
  • West Virginia (2 facilities in Friendly, WV)

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Injunctive Relief

More than $4.1 million will be spent on injunctive relief through 2010 to address compliance with Section 112 of the Clean Air Act and 40 C.F.R. Part 63, Subparts A and RRR. The settlement requires each facility to:

  • Demonstrate compliance with emission standards through valid performance testing
  • Establish and monitor operating parameters
  • Comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements

Additional injunctive relief required by the settlement includes:

  • Hydrogen Chloride Controls - The settlement requires Aleris to improve the capture of hydrogen chloride during the smelting process to ensure it is exhausted to the bag house. Hydrogen chloride is generated during the smelting process and is exhausted to a baghouse, typically using lime to neutralize the material.
  • Particulate Matter Controls - The settlement requires Aleris to reconfigure many of its emissions capture and collection systems in order to significantly reduce fugitive emissions of particulate matter. The settlement also requires enhanced monitoring of the emissions capture and collection systems to ensure adequate particulate matter capture. Particulate matter is generated during the smelting process and is exhausted to a baghouse that traps the particulate matter.
  • Dioxins and Furans Emission Controls - The settlement requires Aleris to replace the pollution control afterburner at the Morgantown kiln to ensure full destruction of dioxins and furans ("D/F") from the facility's delacquering kiln. Secondary aluminum production facility sources that create and emit D/F include thermal chip dryers, scrap dryers, delacquering kilns, and secondary aluminum processing units containing one or more "group 1" furnace emission units processing recycled aluminum.

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Emissions Reductions

Upon full implementation, the settlement will reduce emissions of a number of air pollutants, including dioxins, furans, hydrogen chloride ("HCl"), particulate matter ("PM") and hydrocarbons. PM from a secondary aluminum production facility contains hazardous metals, including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, mercury, nickel, and selenium. Total hydrocarbon emissions serve as a surrogate for the emissions of organic hazardous air pollutants. The controls required by the settlement will reduce dioxins and furans by over 95% and the reconfiguration of the emissions capture and collection systems will improve capture of D/F, HCl, PM and hydrocarbons.

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

The environmental and health impacts of the pollutants reduced under this settlement include the following:

  • Hydrogen Chloride - HCl is corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, may cause coughing, hoarseness, inflammation and ulceration of the respiratory tract, chest pain, and pulmonary edema in humans.
  • Particulate Matter -Short term exposure to PM can aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, may increase susceptibility to respiratory infections and has been linked to heart attacks.
  • Dioxins and Furans - Exposure to dioxins and furans can cause a number of health effects including hormone changes, skin disease and is classified as a probable human carcinogen. For more information on dioxins and furans, please visit EPA's Air Toxics website on Dioxins.

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Civil Penalty

Aleris agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4.6 million, which will be allowed as a general unsecured claim in Aleris' pending bankruptcy proceeding. The actual amount received will depend on the amount of the payout to general unsecured creditors, which has not been determined as of the date of this settlement. The distribution of the final penalty will be 50% to the United States and 50% to the 11 state and local co-plaintiffs.

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State Partners

Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maricopa County, Ariz. have all joined EPA in this settlement.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval by the district court and by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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David W. Schnare
Air Enforcement Division
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (MC 2242A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4183

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