State issues notice to Omya over calicum carbonate release

STAFF WRITER - Published: October 21, 2010
The state has sent Omya Inc. a “notice of alleged violation” in connection with a calcium carbonate spill at its Florence plant last week.

The Agency of Natural Resources issued the notice this week following an investigation that determined the plant “released stearic acid-treated calcium carbonate” from its Omya West Plant, “which resulted in a discharge to state waters (Smith Pond).” 

The unpermitted discharge of calcium carbonate powder occurred on Oct. 10, at which time Omya said it immediately notified the state of the accident and took action to clean up the spill.

In his report, ANR environmental enforcement officer Patrick Lowkes ordered the company to immediately cease all unpermitted discharges into state waters and notify the state in writing by Nov. 15 “reasons for the release and cleanup actions taken.”

Omya issued a statement on the day of the accident blaming the release of approximately 500 pounds of ground calcium carbonate on a faulty rotary valve at its product silo. 

The company said the material, used in plastics applications, posed no threat to “human health or the environment.”

In a brief e-mailed statement from its Cincinnati headquarters, Omya spokeswoman Linda Pleiman said the company would respond accordingly to the Notice of Alleged Violation. 

“We are taking appropriate measures to minimize the possibility of this happening again,” Pleiman wrote. 

The notice from the state also requires Omya to submit what corrective measures it will take to “prevent further discharges from occurring” and a time frame for implementation. 

Lowkes also warned the company that ANR may issue an Administrative Enforcement Order that could include penalties and, if necessary, corrective/restorative action. 

The Oct. 10 incident is the latest unpermitted spill or release that’s occurred over the years at the Omya plant.