Fluoride Action Network

Honeywell to pay penalty for hazardous chemical releases in Metropolis

Source: WPSD Local 6 | January 8th, 2014
Location: United States, Illinois
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

CHICAGO – Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Wednesday Honeywell International, Inc., has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $90,000 following three dangerous releases of hydrogen fluoride at its Metropolis, Ill. plant. The company also completed a series of system upgrades as required by Madigan and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“The dangerous air pollution from this plant posed a serious threat to Honeywell’s neighbors,” Madigan said. “We took action to hold the company responsible for failing to prevent these incidents while ensuring new measures have been implemented to avoid them in the future.”

According to the consent order filed in Massac County Circuit Court, Honeywell has implemented comprehensive upgrades to its raw materials handling and emissions monitoring systems as directed by Madigan’s office and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the dangerous chemical releases.

Honeywell produces uranium hexafluoride at the facility on Route 45 near Metropolis. Hexafluoride is used in manufacturing nuclear reactor fuel for military and industrial electric utilities. Hydrogen fluoride is a highly dangerous gas, forming corrosive hydrofluoric acid upon contact with tissue. The gas can also cause blindness by rapid destruction of the cornea.

Assistant Attorney General Kelly Phelps is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.

Honeywell spokesperson Peter Dalpe released the following statement in reaction to the above information: 

“Honeywell is committed to the safe operation of the Metropolis facility. The incidents cited in today’s settlement occurred three or more years ago and involved material releases that were below the state’s own threshold for reportable quantities. For all three incidents, there were no injuries or impact to the community. The facility has already adopted the safety measures agreed to in the settlement and has since made significant additional investments in the plant and its processes to improve its safe operations.”

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See press release from the Illinois Attorney General