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Alloy Plant Faces Quarter-Million Dollar Fine

Tue, 09/03/2013 - 12:19pm

Special Metals' alloy plant in Huntington, WV could face $254,000 in city fines for alleged sewer and industrial waste discharge violations. The Huntington Sanitary Board, which proposed the fines, sent a draft consent order to the company in mid-August. The board's staff and Mayor Steve Williams, who is chairman of the board's Board of Directors, are scheduled to meet with plant officials this week to discuss the alleged violations, The Herald Dispatch reported.

The proposed fines include $200,000 for failing to address nine unspecified violations between 2003 and February 2013, and for failing to address problems in a facility at the plant described as a "pickle house/cold draw." Fourteen fines totaling $54,000 are proposed for alleged incidents that caused water samples to be outside acceptable pH levels. A spokesman for Special Metals' parent, Precision Castparts Corp., didn't immediately return a telephone message.

Sanitary board members said that they learned about the problems recently.

"Obviously, more information needs to come to light as this develops, but two things were extremely shocking. The violations go as far back as 1999. We don't know why this is all happening now. It's also somewhat troubling that this is the first time it has been brought to the board. It's a pretty serious issue, and I think we should have been made aware of it a long time ago because it appears to be an ongoing problem," board member Alex Vence told the newspaper.

The board will take civil action against the plant for penalties, costs and injunctive relief if it and the company cannot reach an agreement on the alleged violations, according to a letter the board sent to the company along with the draft consent order. The 130-acre plant manufactures high-performance nickel alloys for the aerospace, gas well and other industries and employs more than 500 hourly workers.

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