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Silgan Containers, LLC Settlement

(Washington, D.C. - June 14, 2010) The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Silgan Containers that will resolve alleged Clean Air Act (CAA) violations of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration/New Source Review (PSD/NSR) programs at 18 Silgan can manufacturing facilities across the United States.

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Overview of Company and Facility Locations

Silgan is the largest manufacturer of metal food containers in North America. Silgan, headquartered in Connecticut, manufactures and sells steel and aluminum containers that are used primarily by processors and packagers of food products, such as soup, vegetables, fruit, meat, tomato-based products, coffee, seafood, adult nutritional drinks, pet food, and other miscellaneous food products.

Silgan disclosed potential violations to EPA. The following 18 facilities covered by this settlement are located in 12 states:

  • Benton Harbor, Mich.
  • Broadview, Ill.
  • Edison, N.J.
  • Ft. Dodge, Iowa
  • Hammond, Ind.
  • Hoopeston, Ill.
  • Lyons, N.Y.
  • Maxton, N.C.
  • Menomonie, Wisc.
  • Menomonee Falls, Wisc.
  • Mt. Vernon, Mo.
  • Oconomowoc, Wisc.
  • Plover, Wisc.
  • Rochelle, Ill.
  • St. Joseph, Mo.
  • St. Paul, Minn.
  • Tarrant, Ala.
  • Toppenish, Wash. (located on the Yakama Indian Reservation)

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Case Background

Silgan and EPA entered into an Audit Agreement which reflected EPA's Audit Policy, and Silgan commenced a national audit of its facilities' compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA). Silgan conducted a review of each facility (a total of 28) on a region-by-region basis, between October 15, 1999 and November 29, 2004.

Silgan disclosed noncompliance with the Prevention of Significant Deterioration/New Source Review (PSD/NSR) provisions of the CAA (and other CAA requirements) and voluntarily corrected many of the violations prior to this settlement.

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The settlement resolves the following violations:

  • Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), Part C of Title I of the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7470-7492; and 42 U.S.C. §§ 7661a-f
  • Nonattainment New Source Review (nonattainment NSR), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7501-7515
  • The federally approved and enforceable state implementation plans (SIPs) in each of the states where a Silgan facility is located, that incorporate and/or implement the above-listed federal PSD and/or nonattainment NSR requirements

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Injunctive Relief

The following is a summary of corrective actions Silgan is required to take under the consent decree at an estimated cost of over $2.2 million:

1) Oconomowoc, Wisc.: Silgan will convert three can welding process lines from liquid side-seam coating applications to powder coatings and ensure elimination of all coating emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from these lines. In addition, Silgan will secure permanent and actual VOCs emission reductions of about 10 tons per year by permanently ceasing operations at end press line No. 7.

2) Menomonee Falls , Wisc.: Silgan will assume new or modified permit limits which will reduce permitted VOCs emissions from 153.3 tons per year to 67 tons per year (a reduction of 86.3 tons per year).

3) Hoopeston , Ill.: Silgan will secure permanent and actual VOCs emission reductions of 3 tons per year by permanently ceasing operations at end press lines No. 9 and 10.

4) Toppenish, Wash.: Silgan will obtain a non-Title V synthetic minor permit and assume the following emissions limitations: no more than 77.2 tons per year VOCs plant-wide; no more than nine tons per year of any single hazardous air pollutant regulated under CAA Title III; and no more than 24 tons per year combined of all hazardous air pollutants regulated under CAA Title III.

5) San Joaquin County , Calf.: Silgan will permanently retire Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs) in the amount of 22.26 tons per year VOCs.

6) Tarrant , Ala.: Silgan will file an application to withdraw the operating permits for the facility, which it closed on June 30, 2008, thereby securing permanent and actual VOCs emission reductions of nearly 150 tons per year.

Previously Completed Injunctive Relief

Through the audit conducted between 1999 and 2004, Silgan identified noncompliance and undertook the following corrective measures, estimated to cost over $5 million at the following facilities:

1) Edison , N.J.: In 2000, Silgan installed a thermal oxidizer, resulting in an estimated reduction of 15 tons per year of VOCs emissions.

2) Tarrant , Ala.: In 2001, Silgan installed a permanent total enclosure/regenerative thermal oxidizer.

3) St. Joseph , Mo.: Silgan in 2001 installed a permanent total enclosure/regenerative thermal oxidizer, resulting in an estimated reduction of 430 tons per year of VOCs emissions.

4) Edison, Tarrant and St. Joseph facilities: Silgan obtained permits that incorporate the above corrective measures. The permits include:

  • Edison - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Permit No. 990001
  • Tarrant - Jefferson County, Alabama Department of Health Permit No. 4-07-0135-04
  • St. Joseph - Missouri Department of Natural Resources Permit Nos. 062004-015 and 082000-012

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Pollutant Reductions in tons per year

The injunctive relief terms of the settlement will result in reduction and/or elimination of over 636 tons per year of VOCs.

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Health Effects

When all injunctive relief measures are implemented under the consent decree, the settlement will result in significant reductions of an estimated 1,272,860 pounds per year of VOCs:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - VOCs are precursors to ozone. People with lung disease, children, older adults, and people who are active can be affected when ozone levels are unhealthy. Numerous scientific studies have linked ground-level ozone exposure to a variety of problems, including:
    • Airway irritation, coughing, and pain when taking a deep breath
    • Wheezing and breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities
    • Inflammation (like a sunburn)
    • Aggravation of asthma and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis
    • Permanent lung damage with repeated exposures

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Civil Penalty

The settlement agreement requires payment of a $365,000 civil penalty to be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

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Comment Period

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

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