The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Oregon’s largest glass container recycler nearly $39,000 for failing to report information about toxic chemicals at its Portland facility.
The federal agency said Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., a subsidiary of glass manufacturing giant O-I Glass Inc., failed to submit annual reports in 2017 and 2018 informing the agency that it manufactured and processed more than 25,000 pounds of chromium compounds.
That prompted the EPA to issue Owens-Brockway a $38,900 fine for violating the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act’s Toxic Release Inventory provisions. The Toxic Release Inventory is a national public database with information about toxic chemical releases by industrial and federal facilities.
Owens-Brockway uses iron chromite to make green glass at its facility, according to the federal agency. When iron chromite is heated in a furnace it produces new chromium compounds which are incorporated into green glass bottles, the agency said.
A spokesperson for O-I Glass declined to comment on the fine Thursday.
The EPA said it targeted the Owens-Brockway facility in northeast Portland for inspection because its location is within an economically disadvantaged community.
The penalty comes two months after the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced it was fining Owens-Brockway more than $1 million for repeated air quality violations.
The fine was the ninth issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to Owens-Brockway for air quality violations since 2004.
The company has exceeded opacity limits — the degree to which visibility is reduced by pollution — at two glass melting furnaces at least 50 times since 2009, according to the state.
Opacity is an indicator of particulate matter being released into the air, which can cause health problems, according to an enforcement notice from the state.
However, Oregon didn’t revoke the company’s permit for ongoing violations. Owens-Brockway’s Portland plant is the only large glass container manufacturing plant in Oregon, according to Harry Esteve, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Glass to Glass, a subsidiary of Owens-Brockway, is the only glass processor in Oregon capable of taking mixed color glass collected through curbside recycling programs, Esteve said. Most of that glass goes to Owens-Brockway’s Portland plant for processing. The Portland plant recycles over 240,000 pounds of glass containers every day, a company spokesman told The Oregonian in July.