GREENVILLE — Federal-Mogul has been placed on a “significant noncompliant” status after several violations of the city’s Industrial Pollution Prevention (IPP) program.
However, city officials say most, if not all, issues have been drastically improved at the automotive plant, which is located at 510 E. Grove St.
Federal-Mogul was cited multiple times last year for releasing more of two types of pollutants into the city’s wastewater system than is allowed by ordinance. Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Shawn Wheat said levels of metal pollutants from the automotive plant have exceeded the city’s limit requirements, but are still very low and were still able to be treated by the treatment plant.
“They are just around the mark (limit) and it’s such a low amount,” Wheat said. “We’re talking parts per million.”
In the past few years, Federal-Mogul has made great strides in reducing the amount of metal pollutants it releases, mostly as the result of locating the issue and upgrading equipment.
“Although Federal-Mogul has violated their permit parameters and our local limits on several occasions over the past year, I am pleased to write they have made significant progress in eliminating all of their metal violations,” Wheat said.
According to Federal-Mogul Plant Manager Ben Sowerby, the company replaced boiler tubes in an evaporator system, which was the cause of the excess pollutants.
“We have run several tests and we have not had any issues since putting that new (tube) on,” Wheat confirmed.
The company’s other violations have been from more-than-allowed domestic waste, such as phosphorous and ammonia solids, according to got Wheat. However, he said the real issues with domestic waste has fallen more on the city, which is updating its IPP program and the limits involved.
Similar to metal pollutants, Wheat said the amount of excess material released to the wastewater treatment plant is very small.
“We can treat the domestic waste, so it’s no problem,” he said, adding the violations are just the result of following city procedure.
“It is the duty of the wastewater treatment plant superintendent to protect the wastewater treatment plant and the collection system from pollutants that could be detrimental to the health of the treatment plant and its collection system, as well as the environment in which the wastewater treatment plant discharges to and for the protection of public health,” he said.
The amount released by Federal-Mogul was not considered dangerous, Wheat said.
Federal-Mogul officials said the company has recognized the issues and worked diligently to correct them and be in compliance with the city’s limits.
“Federal-Mogul recognizes its responsibility to the environment and to our neighbors in the communities where we operate,” said Federal-Mogul Vice President of Investor Relations and Powertrain Communications Paula Silver. “The company’s Greenville facility is cooperating and working closely with the city’s department of wastewater treatment and has taken the appropriate actions to resolve any and all concerns and outstanding issues, which includes waiting for the city to update ordinances relating to its wastewater plant.”
Federal-Mogul has been paying overage fees for the violation.
Wheat said he has been more than satisfied with Federal-Mogul’s cooperation and effort.
“They’ve come a long way in the four years I’ve been here,” he said. “We partnered together and we’ve pretty much solved the issues. We’re pretty much there.”