It was attended by more than two dozen Phillipsburg area residents, some of whom described smelling the smoke from the 183 Sitgreaves St. foundry’s stack at their homes.
“There are times when I get up in the morning, night, middle of the day when you start your shift, if the wind’s blowing my way, I get up and think my house is on fire,” said James Flynn, of Firth Street. “I go out and I’m, ‘Oh it’s just the foundry.’”
The residents challenged the company, formerly Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., to take steps to lower emissions rather than seek the higher limits in a new Title V Air Operating Permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Public comment on the air permit modification and renewal, as well as the renewal of a stormwater permit that is not changing, will continue to be taken by email until 5 p.m. April 8 via firstname.lastname@example.org. After that, the NJDEP Office of Environmental Justice will consider the comments and McWane Ductile’s responses, finalize the draft air permit and submit it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a 45-day review before the air permit is approved. The current air permit approved by the state on Jan. 29, 2021, is set to expire Feb. 19, 2023. NJDEP review of the stormwater permit renewal has been ongoing since 2011 and is nearing completion, McWane Ductile said.
McWane Ductile is requesting the amendments to its air permit for increased pollutants from the baghouse filters on the foundry’s Cupola Furnace, Melt Center and Zinc Coating areas at the Phillipsburg plant. These pollutants include mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, chromium, lead, manganese and combined hazardous metals. As part of the application, the company plans to invest $4 million to replace a casting machine and install a new cooling tower.
The proposed emission limits carry “no appreciable increase in potential risk to the surrounding community,” McWane Ductile said in a fact sheet distributed at Wednesday night’s meeting, citing an NJDEP Bureau of Evaluation and Planning facility-wide risk assessment from December: “The Bureau of Evaluation and Planning (BEP) Air Quality Evaluation Section has completed its risk assessment for McWane Ductile in Phillipsburg, Warren County. Air dispersion modeling and risk assessment shows that the emissions of all (hazardous air pollutants) from the facility will result in negligible cancer and non-cancer risks for all air toxics.”
Phillipsburg pipe maker seeks higher limits on air pollutants
McWane Ductile-New Jersey in seeking a new state air quality permit proposes to increase certain hazardous air pollutant emissions limits from the baghouse filters on the Cupola Furnace, Melt Center and Zinc Coating systems at its 183 Sitgreaves St. plant in Phillipsburg.