PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $1.3 million fine to an aluminum recycler in The Dalles for multiple violations of air pollution regulations, officials said Thursday.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the fine, issued to Hydro Extrusion USA, represents the largest ever issued by the agency for an air quality violation.
“DEQ found Hydro Extrusion operated with flagrant disregard for the rules and conditions of its air quality permit,” said Kieran O’Donnell, a compliance and enforcement manager with the state.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In April, inspectors found that the company, which is owned by Norway-based Norsk Hydro, had been improperly melting down coated aluminum for over a year. The facility in The Dalles was only allowed to melt down “clean charge” material, meaning it is free of grease, oil and other coatings.
Hydro Extrusion was ordered to stop processing unclean materials, upgrade its tracking programs and submit monthly reports to the state to verify it was in compliance with the law. Officials said its monitoring has improved, and the company has certified with the state that it no longer processes the prohibited material.
The vast majority of the fine is based on the estimated economic benefit the company gained through the violations.
Last year, Hydro Extrusion agreed to pay $46 million to settle criminal charges and civil claims after it sold NASA defective aluminum, which allegedly caused two rockets to explode shortly after launch.