ERIE, Pa. — Erie Coke Corp. has entered an agreement to pay a $500,000 penalty after the Environmental Protection Agency alleged that the plant violated Clean Air Act regulations.
Erie Coke must pay the sum, as a civil penalty, within 30 days, according to court documents. The plant must also perform a comprehensive benzene leak detection analysis and repair all leaks.
The complaint alleges that Erie Coke, which is located at the foot of East Avenue, violated the Clean Air Act with leaks at the plant that have not been addressed, especially when it comes to benzene emissions. The chemical can cause cancer with prolonged exposure.
According to court documents, on Nov. 10, 2010 through Nov. 16, 2010 and March 9, 2015 through March 12, 2015, the National Enforcement Investigation Center and the EPA conducted Clean Air Act compliance evaluations at the facility.
During the inspections, the inspection teams discovered evidence of a number of violations of environmental statutes and regulations.
On a continuous basis since at least November 2010, the plant failed to minimize leaks of benzene from the facility by-products area. Erie Coke failed to identify and seal several process vessels, including two tar settlers, a hot drain tank and continuously failed to identify potential sources of benzene emissions from Oct. 1, 1991.