Howden Reaches Settlement With Ohio EPA Over Paint Booth Regulations

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OH – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Howden North America Inc. for violations of air pollution standards at its New Philadelphia, OH facility.

Street view of Howden facility at 338 South Broadway Street in New Philadelphia, OH.

New Philadelphia is located in Tuscarawas County, Ohio in the eastern part of the state about 27 miles south of Canton and about 120 miles northeast of Columbus.

Howden North America is a manufacturer of fans and ventilation units. The company’s New Philadelphia facility is located at 338 South Broadway Street in the south side of town.

Location of Howden North America Inc. in New Philadelphia, OH.

The settlement involves a fine of more than $109,000 in a civil penalty relating to three paint booths used to coat metal parts in the company’s New Philadelphia facility.

The EPA said toluene and other toxic chemicals were used in the paint booths and that some amounts were in excess of what is allowed under air pollution standards. The EPA also said that the company did not have the correct permits or maintain its records correctly.

Howden maintained that it bought the plant in 1997 and that the problems stem from the prior owners. The company was relying on permit applications that were submitted by the previous owner and a registration status which was approved by the Ohio EPA at that time.

The company recently discovered that coatings that they were using at the New Philadelphia facility were not included in the previous applications. Additionally, there were new air quality standards that had been issued in the meantime which required additional record keeping and reporting.

Erin Strouse, from the Ohio EPA says the company is working with the agency to correct the problems:

“They’ve cooperated with our agency and have agreed to apply for the required air permits and properly maintain facilities and emissions units and keep the records that they are required to do.”

Most of the company’s troubles had to do with their failure to submit reports and maintain certain records to show that Howden was complying with the new air quality standard. Sometimes the materials used in the spray booths were in excess of allowable limits on VOC content (volatile organic compounds), but the emissions from the usage of those materials at the facility was low (about five tons per year).

The Ohio EPA has made a determination that the allowable limits no longer applied because of the low usage at the facility.

Howden pointed out that the emission levels were not harmful to its employees or to the general public.

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