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AL Solutions settles with EPA over fatal blast

Keywords: Tags  titanium, zirconium recycler, AL Solutions, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, settlement, Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — A West Virginia metals recycler is investing in technology, initiating employee safeguards and paying a $100,000 fine to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from an explosion in 2010 that killed three people.

Workers at titanium and zirconium recycler AL Solutions Inc. were handling titanium powder at the company’s New Cumberland, W.Va., facility when the explosion and fire occurred (, Dec. 13, 2010). It is suspected that an accidental release of a chemical caused the fatal blast.

The proposed consent decree, which is awaiting final court approval following a 30-day comment period, will resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The New Cumberland-based company is spending an estimated $7.8 million toward the improvements, with significant portions of the work already completed, according to the EPA.

Hydrogen monitoring and infrared cameras are being installed to assess hazardous chemical storage areas, which will protect against potential fires and explosions. The company will also process or dispose of 10,000 drums of titanium and zirconium, weighing 2.4 million pounds, that are being stored at facilities in New Cumberland and Weirton, W.Va., by December 2014 to further mitigate any risk of fire.

The company will pay a $100,000 civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations that were documented during EPA inspections at the New Cumberland and Washington, Mo., facilities following the explosion. No actions were taken against its Burgettstown, Pa., facility.

In a related action, the recycler agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Labor $97,000 to resolve alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The company had contested the original fine, which was $154,000 (, June 11, 2011).

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