Milwaukie company fined $7200 for air quality violations

Blount's air-quality permit limits the discharge of total chromium to 0.015 milligrams per cubic meter of exhaust gas

Blout was fined for air quality violations. November 29, 2016, (Google Maps)
Blout was fined for air quality violations. November 29, 2016, (Google Maps)

MILWAUKIE, Ore. (CLACKAMAS REVIEW) — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced on Tuesday that it has issued a $7,200 penalty to a Milwaukie company for air-quality violations.

Blount, Inc., was found to be exceeding its permit’s limits for emitting chromium into the air. The company operates a chainsaw parts manufacturing facility at 4909 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie.

In January, the company made a change to its method of operation that increased both production capacity and chromium emissions at the facility.

Blount’s air-quality permit limits the discharge of total chromium to 0.015 milligrams per cubic meter of exhaust gas. Testing conducted in March measured total chromium emissions to be 0.022 and 0.028 milligrams per cubic meter of exhaust from the company’s two pollution-control devices.

The Clackamas Review is a KOIN media partner.

DEQ issued the penalty because exceeding the permitted levels of hexavalent chromium can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and other ailments. Hexavalent chromium is highly toxic to humans.

DEQ also cited Blount without penalty for failing to obtain approval before making operational changes at the plant that resulted in an increase in production capacity.

In determining the penalty amount, DEQ considered Blount’s efforts to correct and minimize the effects of the violation by voluntarily limiting its plating operations to 50 percent capacity, using fume suppressant in addition to the mesh-pad scrubbers, and installing high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration units on the exhaust of the mesh-pad scrubbers to further control emissions from the plating tanks.

Blount does not intend to appeal the penalty. Blount is currently considering funding a supplemental environmental project. DEQ allows individuals and companies to mitigate up to 80 percent of civil penalties by funding or performing a project that protects public health or improves the environment.