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Portland Chrome Plating Company Cited For Air Pollution Violations

<p>Incoming high clouds swirl overhead as the summer sun breaks through behind a street lamp in Portland, Oregon.</p>

Don Ryan

Incoming high clouds swirl overhead as the summer sun breaks through behind a street lamp in Portland, Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has cited a Portland chrome plating company for three violations of air pollution rules.

The announcement of the violations comes as officials search for the source of hexavalent chromium detected in air monitors near the Bullseye Glass facility in Southeast Portland. At elevated levels, hexavalent chromium can cause cancer. Officials are investigating a rail yard, a trucking facility and two chrome-plating facilities.

Blount International, Inc. in southeast Portland does electroplating, which involves using an electrical current and metals dissolved in a solution to add a metal coating onto machine parts.

The company was cited for exceeding the allowed levels of chromium emissions during a test performed in March. The company was operating at a higher than normal rate during the testing period, which lasted less than nine hours.

The company was also cited for failing to notify the DEQ of operational changes that altered its air pollution emissions and for failing to demonstrate compliance with state rules after it made those changes.

According to DEQ, the company is now in compliance with its air quality permit. The company notified DEQ in April that it intends to install additional pollution controls. The state has approved the installation of a HEPA filter designed to reduce emissions that aren’t already captured and reduced by the company’s existing scrubber.

DEQ is reviewing the company’s violations to determine what civil penalties may apply.

Blount performed its own air pollution emissions test on May 12, and regulators expect the results to be available in the next several weeks.

The DEQ has posted a list of questions and answers about the violations.

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