State regulators buckle down on mercury polluter - Oceana USA
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2006-08-09 00:00:00

State regulators buckle down on mercury polluter

BY: smahan

PPG Industries was recently told it must reduce its mercury discharges into the Ohio River (“Plant told to cut mercury dumping,” Aug. 8).  In addition to river discharges, the New Martinsville plant emitted over 1,200 pounds of mercury into the air in 2004-making it the largest mercury air polluter in the state.  Every year that PPG is allowed to wait to clean up its mess is another year that more mercury enters the environment and poses a health risk.

New technology is available so the plant can continue operations without the mercury pollution.  Already 90 percent of the chlorine industry uses this technology.  PPG’s second mercury emitting chlorine plant in Louisiana is slated to change to this mercury free technology by 2007. If it doesn’t switch, it is unclear the plant can meet the current discharge limits.

The technology isn’t cheap, but it does offer up to a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency.  Likewise, the longer PPG waits to switch, the more mercury it will have to pay to clean up in the future.  PPG should stop stalling the inevitable and implement the environmental board’s order.