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July 24, 2014

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Henderson plant fined record $13.75 million over chemical disposal

Updated Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 12:17 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today a record $13.75 million fine against a Henderson titanium processing plant accused of improperly disposing a dangerous chemical.

The fine against Philadelphia-based Titanium Metals Corp. is the largest ever imposed for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act at a single facility, according to the EPA.

In addition to the $13.75 million penalty, the company will pay $250,000 for illegally disposing hazardous wastewater. The company has already spent $6 million investigating and cleaning up the contamination. It expects to spend another $1 million for cleanup under terms of the settlement.

The EPA’s case centers on the company’s handling of polychlorinated biphenyls, an organic chemical once found in paint, construction materials, plastics and electrical equipment.

The chemical is labeled a “probable carcinogen” by the EPA and has been banned in the United States for 30 years with only a few exceptions.

Inspections by the EPA in 2005, 2006 and 2008 found that Titanium Metals Corp. was illegally producing polychlorinated biphenyls at its Henderson plant as a byproduct of its titanium manufacturing process.

Waste contaminated with the chemical was disposed of in a landfill and trench at the plant.

The 108-acre Henderson facility is located at the Black Mountain Industrial Complex near U.S. 95 and Lake Mead Parkway.

The settlement announced today will remove about 84,000 pounds of contaminated waste from the environment and prevent the improper disposal of 56 million pounds of hazardous waste per year, according to the EPA.

Titanium Metals Corp. has corrected the regulatory violations cited in the complaint and is seeking an exemption that will allow it to manufacture and properly dispose of polychlorinated biphenyls, the EPA said.

Last month, the EPA announced a $1.1 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to clean up perchlorate contamination in the same area.

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