DEQ identifies air quality violations with chrome plating operation in Portland area

Cleaner Air Oregon News

Portland, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has cited Blount International, Inc., located at 4909 SE International Way in Portland, for three violations of air quality regulations. Part of Blount International’s operations include electroplating, a process of using an electrical current and metals dissolved in a solution to place a coating (or plate) of metal onto a finished part.

The first violation is for exceeding the chromium emission rate during a source test performed on March 29, 2016. This violation is for the period of time during the test, which was less than nine hours, when Blount was operating at a higher-than-normal rate, which resulted in higher-than-allowed emissions.

The second violation is for failure to notify DEQ of changes to Blount’s operation. Blount, in January 2016, made a change to its operations that resulted in a change in emissions. When Blount, or any regulated company, makes a change that affects emissions, they are required to provide formal notice to DEQ and receive approval before proceeding.
The third violation is for failure to demonstrate continual compliance from the time the company made the operational change until it received the results from the source test, began adding a fume suppressant, and began monitoring the surface tension of its plating bath.

Blount is currently operating in compliance with its DEQ air quality permit. Blount also submitted notice on April 19, 2016, to DEQ of its intent to install additional controls at the exhaust of its existing pollution control device. DEQ has approved this construction, which includes addition of a HEPA filter rated to reduce any emissions not already captured and reduced by the scrubber by an additional 99.9 percent. The addition of the HEPA filter controls is beyond what state or federal regulations require.

DEQ is now reviewing the violations within the agency’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement to determine what civil penalties may apply.

Blount performed an additional emission test on May 12, 2016, while operating at a lower production rate, using fume suppressant, and continuing to operate its scrubber. DEQ expects results from this test to be available in the next several weeks. Based on the results from previous source tests, the effectiveness of reducing emissions through the use of fume suppressants (up to 99.9 percent), and the use of scrubbers as pollution control devices for the plating operations, DEQ expects the follow-up source test results to demonstrate compliance with the emissions limits in the permit and all applicable federal requirements as similar testing in the past has shown.

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