PITTSBURGH A Cleveland
recycler has reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to settle a Clean Air Act complaint about the
recovery of fluorocarbons.
Under the terms of the
agreement, Southeast Metals Inc.which denies all
violations alleged in the original complaintwill pay a
$15,000 civil penalty and submit documentation of its
activities twice annually for five years, according to a
consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio.
The matter ended up in court
because a previous attorney representing the company failed to
meet deadlines for documentation, according to Judge Lesley
Wells, who noted that the company had acted in good faith.
As part of the settlement,
Southeast Metals will accept only motor vehicle air
conditioning (MVAC) and MVAC-like appliances with cut
refrigerant lines unless the supplier can provide documentation
that fluids were properly drained.
In addition, Southeast Metals
will inform its customer base that it will provide refrigerant
recovery services at no additional charge and the service will
not be deducted from the value of the scrap metal.
The recycler has the option of
recovering the fluids or subcontracting the task to a third
party. It will keep a log with details on the refrigerant
recovery for each item it receives and will forward the
information twice a year to the EPA.
Southeast Metals had never
improperly disposed refrigerants and had a third party perform
this work, according to its legal counsel, who described the
amount of Freon extracted as "minimal."
Allegations in the original
complaint that the recycler failed to cooperate and provide
information to the regulatory agency were untrue, the attorney