PHILADELPHIA (January 4, 2011) – Four Prisons in the State of Pennsylvania have reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency of alleged Clean Air Act violations. The settlement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections and the Department of General Services, includes provisions that will include new pollution control technology being installed, and additional reporting requirements at the four correctional facilities in Muncy, Bellefonte, Huntingdon and Somerset, Pa.
“Today’s settlement will improve the air quality in four Pennsylvania communities,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “It’s important that all sources of air emissions, including prisons, comply with environmental regulations to ensure that the standards are met in nearby communities.”
The exact terms of the settle require each location to make improvements to its boiler plants to reduce emissions, including particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. These pollutants can cause respiratory problems, exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, and create haze. Under the agreement, the Department of Corrections will also pay a civil penalty of $300,000.
The specific new improvements that are scheduled to be installed include a new Baghouse (Dust Collector) to reduce particulate matter at the Rockview facility. Other locations will switch from coal-fired boilers to cleaner gas-fired versions. In some locations the new gas-fired boilers will be installed, in others existing equipment will be used in a larger capacity, while phasing out the older coal-fired equipment.
This settlement has reporting obligations to ensure the prisons stay on schedule with the terms of the agreement. Should the facilities’ boilers fail to meet the requirements, they will be subject to stipulated penalties, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per day contingent on the type and length of the violation.
The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
A full list of the proposed changes can be found below:
- Baghouse to control particulate matter will be installed at the Rockview facility;
- New gas-fired boiler units at the Laurel Highlands facility will be constructed;
- Coal-fired boiler units at the Muncy facility will be shut down and replaced by an existing natural gas- fired boiler; and
- The Huntingdon facility is required to either add particulate matter controls, or convert to gas-fired boiler units.
For more information about environmental compliance with possible federal requirements at correctional facilities see http://www.epa.gov/Region3/compliance_assistance/prisons.htm