Enforcement at work: Owens-Brockway installs pollution controls at glass recycling plant

Bigstock photo of a row of glass bottles ready to be filled up in a beverage factory

After DEQ issued the Owens-Brockway glass recycling plant a $1 million fine in June 2021 for air quality violations, the company signed an agreement in October 2021 resolving the enforcement action and giving Owens-Brockway two options: install pollution controls or shut down.

Owens-Brockway notified DEQ on June 30, 2022, that it intends to install pollution controls, specifically a catalytic ceramic filter, to control particulate matter. In addition, the filter will control emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. DEQ is currently reviewing this application for completeness and compliance with the agreement. Pollution controls reduce emissions and are one of the best ways a facility can protect the health of those living and working nearby.

In accordance with the agreement, Owens-Brockway will continue operating under restricted interim limits until they install the specified air pollution controls. Once the application is approved, Owens-Brockway has 18 months to complete the installation, with interim deadlines to ensure progress is made in a timely manner.

Another part of the enforcement was for Owens-Brockway to spend $529,404 of the penalty on one or more projects that will provide air quality benefits to the surrounding community. In March 2022, DEQ approved Owens-Brockway’s application for a supplemental environmental project to contribute these funds to Friends of Trees for tree planting efforts. The project will pay to plant trees in the Sumner neighborhood, where the facility is located, as well as in the adjacent neighborhoods of Cully, Parkrose, Argay and Wilkes, and within the nearby Columbia Slough Watershed in northeast Portland. This work should take place in fall 2022 when planting conditions will support the health of the trees.

— Harry Esteve, communications manager

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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