Ohio Furniture Maker Cited for Particulates Emissions

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has filed an administrative complaint against Sauder Woodworking Cogeneration Facility for alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company's furniture manufacturing plant in Archbold, Ohio, proposing a $328,334 penalty. EPA alleges the company violated federal and state regulations by emitting excessive amounts of visible particulates (smoke, dust, ash), nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds from its wood-fired boilers. In addition, the agency alleges the manufacturer violated notification and recordkeeping requirements and requirements to continuously monitor emissions from its boilers.

EPA said it learned of the alleged violations after receiving excess emission reports that the company was required to submit to the state. The agency notified Sauder of alleged violations in April 2008 and again in February 2009 and met with the company after each notification to discuss the findings and how to resolve them.

The agency noted that inhaling high concentrations of particulates can have adverse health effects, particularly in children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung disease. Nitrogen oxides can irritate the lungs and lower resistance to respiratory infections. They also contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog) and acid rain. Volatile organic compounds also contribute to the formation of smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Smog can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone, EPA said.

Sauder has 30 days from receipt of the complaint to file an answer and request a hearing. It may request an informal conference with EPA at any time to discuss resolving the allegations.

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