Rubbertown Chemical Plant Pushes to Install New Emissions Discharge Equipment | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Rubbertown chemical plant, previously troubled by leaks and environmental violations, is struggling to obtain a building permit to build new equipment under new ownership.

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has offered to issue a building permit to Bakelite Synthetics, a formaldehyde and phenolic resin production facility on Camp Ground Road.

The permit allows Bakelite Synthetics to build a single bagger. According to city records, it is an open-mouth powder bagger that mechanically packs bags with phenolic resin powder and then seals the bags.

According to a press release, particulate emissions from the new bagging system will be controlled by an existing baghouse filtration system. It would have the potential to emit 7.69 tonnes of particles per year such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke.

Eboni Cochran, head of Rubbertown Emergency ACTion (REACT), said the persistent pollution problem was not solved.

“This community is exposed to toxic chemicals in a myriad of ways,” Cochran said. “I feel like this community shouldn’t bear the burden of being exposed to these particles just because the company isn’t innovative enough to reclaim its own emissions.”

The new system would replace three existing product baggers.

The establishment has a history of violations. In 2019, Hexion was fined $102,750 as part of a settlement with Louisville. Between 2015 and April 2017, Hexion was fined $258,750. This follows a $15,000 fine in September 2014.

Hexion sold this operation in 2021 and has been in compliance ever since.

“These multi-million and multi-billion dollar chemical facilities…I want to see them really innovate and reclaim their waste,” Cochran said. “Community members don’t have to have these exhibits.”

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has opened a public comment period, which runs through May 9.

Bakelite Synthetics officials were not immediately available to talk about development.

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