Publication Date 06/16/2010
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Less than a year after Heartland Refinery Group was praised by city and state officials as a cutting edge “green” business, the company has been sued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for violating air pollution limits.
In the process, the state says Heartland created “a substantial odor nuisance and potential adverse impacts to public health and the environment.”
The state’s action is a substantial blow to the plant, dubbed a “re-refinery” because it strips soot and other compounds from used motor oil so that it could be recycled. Heartland officials planned to recycle as much as 20 million gallons of used oil a year.
The plant ran into trouble two months after its official ribbon cutting when a power failure triggered a hydrogen sulfide gas leak at the facility. More than 4,000 people were evacuated from nearby businesses.
An analysis the company later provided the state showed that, while the gas was a threat to workers, it dissipated by the time it reached the plant’s fence line.
The state’s lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, claims that Heartland failed to properly operate required pollution controls meant to limit the release of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride. It said the company missed “several” deadlines to get those controls on line.
A call to Heartland was not immediately returned this afternoon.