January 28, 2013

Top 10 CT polluters are manufacturers

Photo | Steve Laschever
Photo | Steve Laschever
Cytec Industries’ location at 528 South Cherry St. in Wallingford was the No. 1 site in Connecticut for environmental releases in 2011.

Connecticut’s Top 10 sites for pollution

Company Location Pounds 2011 2010

of Releases rank rank

Cytec Industries 528 South Cherry St., Wallingford 221,665 1 2

Covidien 195 McDermott Road, North Haven 174,570 2 3

Pratt & Whitney 400 Main St., East Hartford 152,661 3 5

PCC Structurals 839 Poquonnock Road, Groton 118,684 4 22

GBC Metals 215 Piedmont St., Waterbury 116,755 5 4

General Cable Industries 1600 W. Main St., Willimantic 94,312 6 9

Unimetal Surface Finishing 15 E. Waterbury Road, Naugatuck 83,956 7 11

Summit Corp. of America 1430 Waterbury Road, Thomaston 70,029 8 6

Ahlstrom Nonwovens Canal Bank Road, Windsor Locks 61,338 9 8

Cray Valley USA 105 Ontario St., Stratford 52,565 10 13

The top 10 most polluting sites in Connecticut are home to manufacturers, a first since the coal plant typically topping the list went into bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Many of the top 10, including Pratt & Whitney and Covidien, saw production increases that led to the increased environmental releases from their sites.

"If a company has increased pollution and is still meeting its requirements, and it increased pollution because it increased production and hopefully hired people, it is hard to be real negative about that," said Jerry Clupper, executive director of New Haven Manufacturers Association.

Overall in Connecticut, the number of 2011 pollutants released decreased 25 percent to 2.1 million pounds, according to the EPA's January toxic release inventory. The state was far better than the New England TRI average, which decreased releases 8 percent.

The companies in the EPA's report released the pollutants legally under their permits. Data doesn't include illegal releases.

The No. 1 site in 2011 for environmental releases in Connecticut was the South Cherry Street location in Wallingford of chemical manufacturer Cytec Industries. The location released 221,665 pounds, 11 percent of the state's total.

"We are a pretty good-sized manufacturer," said Brett Giles, the site manager for Cytec in Wallingford.

Despite being No. 1, Cytec decreased releases 19 percent in 2011 and 33 percent over five years. Those came while Cytec increased production in Wallingford 1.4 percent in 2011.

"We emitted less while producing more," Giles said. "Historically, our emissions have gone down significantly over time."

Cytec, which has 215 workers on site, makes chemicals for coatings, such as the coatings lining the interior of beer and soda cans, and stains for wood and outdoor decks.

The company reduced emissions over time with thermal oxidizers in its processes, condensers that capture fumes, scrubbers to reduce water pollution, solvent recovery systems, and an aggressive recycle program.

Giles said the chemical coatings market struggled since the economic downturn, forcing competitors to shutter. Cytec increased production to meet the demand in the market.

"Unfortunately, we rise to the top of the TRI list," Giles said.

At the top of the list, Cytec replaced 2010 No. 1 AES Thames LLC of Uncasville, which was a 181 megawatt coal plant. The plant filed for bankruptcy in February 2011 and was sold to Texas-based BTU Solutions, which specializes in power plant demolition.

At No. 2 on the 2011 list is the North Haven site for medical device manufacturer Covidien, releasing 174,570 pounds of pollutants.

The Covidien releases primarily come from sterilizing its medical devices.

"We are creating innovative medical products that are needed throughout the world, and those products need to be sterilized," Covidien spokesman John Jordan said.

Covidien's releases are down 5 percent in one year, and 11 percent over the past five years.

No. 3 is the East Hartford location for aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which released 153,661 pounds.

The top Pratt releases are ammonia, used in its air pollution prevention process in its power plant, and nitrates, used in manufacturing of jet engines. Pratt releases increased 19 percent in one year, and 92 percent over five years, correlating with production increases, said Pratt spokeswoman Cindy Szabo.

"When production increases, you are going to have those byproducts as well," Szabo said.

Pratt, like other subsidiaries of Hartford conglomerate United Technologies Corp., is undertaking an initiative to reduce its footprint. The company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent since 2006.

"We are constantly looking for opportunities to mitigate some of those releases," Szabo said.

Pollution resulting from manufacturing is a longstanding issue in the industry, Clupper said. Firms are more aggressive than ever in mitigating their impact. "It is a challenge most manufacturers are addressing," Clupper said. "You always know quality of life in Connecticut is one of the major factors, and we want to do what we can to maintain that."

No. 4 is the Groton site of metal casing manufacturer PCC Structurals. It released 118,684 pounds of pollutants, mostly nickel.

PCC jumped up 18 spots on the EPA's list in 2011 as its releases increased 307 percent from the year prior. "We are working closely to remediate the EPA's concern," PCC spokesman Dwight Weber said.

Rounding out the remaining Top 10 are:

The Waterbury location of metal manufacturer GBC Metals, a site that is being remediated by former owner Olin Corp. an ammunition and chemical manufacturer;

The Willimantic site of metal manufacturer General Cable Industries;

The Naugatuck location of metal finishing firm Unimetal Surface Finishing;

The Thomaston site of electroplate finisher Summit Corp. of America;

The Windsor Locks site of fiber composites manufacturer Ahlstrom Nonwovens; and

The Stratford location of chemical manufacturer Cray Valley.

General Cable, Unimetal, and Summit each did not provide comment for this story.

Olin performed soil remediation to remove metals and is continuing other efforts, said Olin spokesman Christian Mullgardt.

Cray Valley saw a spike in its releases this year because of the disposal of aged inventory, and the company has a waste reduction program, said Mohammed Dekiouk, global manufacturing manager for Cray Valley.

Ahlstrom makes surface finishes for the medical industry for equipment such as surgeons' gowns, masks, and sterilization wraps for surgical equipment. The company reduced its Connecticut environmental releases by 58 percent in 2011.

"We keep looking to increase the efficiency of the product being produced," said Gary Jackson, environmental and regulatory compliance manager for Ahlstrom.

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