LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Indorama, the chemical company that’s had issues with flaring since last year, has gone over its air permit limits.
The company self-reported the overages and state environmental officials are deciding what action to take.
The Indorama ethylene plant voluntarily shut down to iron out issues before trying to start up again.
Now, Indorama has notified the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality that, due to upsets that required using the flare, they have gone above permit limits.
For example, the permit allows 6.19 tons of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs to be released each year. Indorama reports 549 tons more than allowed - almost 90 times more than the limit.
The company’s permit allows 77.26 tons of carbon monoxide each year. From January through May their CO emissions were 428 tons more than that.
According to the EPA, VOCs include a variety of chemicals some of which may have long and short-term health effects. Celena Cage is DEQ Administrator with the Office of Environmental Compliance. She says they are reviewing the information.
"The amount above which the permit limit was exceeded, that is a significant amount. We are reviewing the letter, requesting additional information from the company as needed, and will take the appropriate action to address any violations that have resulted from the excess emissions," she said.
The state's options including ordering the company to come into compliance with environmental regulations as well as proposing a penalty for going over permit limits.
"I would expect some type of action to be issued in the near future. All of the enforcement actions issued by the department are submitted to our electronic data management system online data base," said Cage.
Cage says they cannot speculate on the health effects of such releases.
And we have not heard back from the state health department.
The DEQ Mobile Air Testing Lab was also in the area in May, but as yet those results have not been released.
Indorama provided us the following statement from their Site Director Tony Barre.
“The letter was submitted to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in accordance with regulatory requirements. It is part of Indorama Venture’s continued efforts to work transparently with the LDEQ to ensure compliance with our air permit requirements as we move forward with a planned and orderly restart of our facility."