Newport, TN: EPA Orders Chemical Plant Shut Down, Citing Potential Well Contamination, Releases, or Explosion : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Newport, TN: EPA Orders Chemical Plant Shut Down, Citing Potential Well Contamination, Releases, or Explosion

Newport, TN, United States 4/3/2000

The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a chemical company to shut down until it corrects nearly 50 state and federal violations.

Improperly stored chemicals at Flura Corp. could contaminate nearby water wells, emit hazardous vapors or cause an explosion, according to the shutdown order issued Monday.

The EPA said Flura has failed to correct the problems since the first violation notice was issued in June, three months after inspectors found corroded and leaking containers and decaying chemicals.

The state Department of Environment and Conservation's divisions of Superfund and Solid Waste Management also have cited Flura for numerous violations, including storing hazardous waste without a permit.

Flura has only corrected three of the 50 violations, Dan Hawkins, area manager of the Division of Superfund, said Wednesday.

Wesley Lambert, a spokesman for the EPA's Region 4 office in Atlanta, said issuing the shutdown order was a last resort.

``We want to try to work with companies so they can do their business but in an environmentally responsible way,'' Lambert said. ``Issuing this type of order means we've exhausted all other opportunities to do that.''

Flura President Edward Tyczkowski declined to comment Wednesday but has said residents and employees are not in danger.

He told the Newport Plain Talk newspaper that Flura, which bought the plant in 1988, cannot afford to clean up previous owners' mistakes. But he said workers have removed about 15,000 gallons of wastewater and more than 100 drums of waste chemicals so far.

``The amounts of vapors released here could not possibly harm anyone,'' Tyczkowski said.

State and federal officials believe the site may contain acetone, chloroform, hydrochloric acid, methanol and dozens of other chemicals dumped over the past 40 years.

The EPA says the previous owner disposed of liquid waste by piping it into a sinkhole connected to a spring that leads to the French Broad River. The city gets its water upstream from the spring.

Through the years, bottles of chemicals also were buried in trenches or poured into the ground near the sinkhole, according to the EPA. The EPA believes Flura, a synthesizer of fluoridated bromine compounds, also contributed to the problem.

-- Carl Jenkins (, April 06, 2000


Since rollover we've had a good amount of troubles with planes, trains, gas, oil, and water pipelines. But the big thing that amazes me is that we've had so few problems with chemical plants. Before rollover I would have thought this would have been about the number one area of concern. Oh, well, guess you can't win 'em all.

-- Wellesley (, April 06, 2000.

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