SEPTEMBER 2009

Aluminum recycler agrees to resolve violations

Aleris International Inc., one of the nation’s largest aluminum recyclers, and 13 of its subsidiaries have committed to implementing environmental improvements and controls projected to cost $4.2 million at 15 plants located in 11 states, the Justice Department and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

The company also agreed to a $4.6 million civil penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act, which will be allowed as an unsecured claim in Aleris’s bankruptcy proceeding pending in Delaware.

Aleris uses recycled beverage cans, scrap, and other materials to produce aluminum in liquid or ingot form. Part of the aluminum production process causes emissions of pollutants such as dioxins and furans, hydrogen chloride, and particulate matter.

The consent decree requires Aleris to better enclose its furnaces to improve the capture of emissions, retest every furnace using model test protocols, adopt model recordkeeping and reporting documents, and install pollution control or monitoring equipment at particular facilities. The settlement is expected to reduce annual emissions of particulate matter by up to 24,000 pounds, hydrogen chloride by up to 870,000 pounds, and dioxins and furans by up to one pound per year. Dioxins and furans, created during incineration, are known to cause cancer and are extremely toxic at low levels.

In a complaint filed last February in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the United States alleged that Aleris violated the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Secondary Aluminum Production, which became effective in 2003. The complaint alleged that Aleris failed to design and install adequate systems to capture emissions of pollutants, to demonstrate compliance with federal emission standards through adequate performance testing, to correctly establish and monitor operating parameters, and to comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

The settlement requires Aleris and its subsidiaries to implement pollution controls and take other compliance measures at facilities located in Goodyear, Arizona; Post Falls, Idaho; Morgantown and Lewisport, Kentucky; Chicago Heights, Illinois; Wabash, Indiana; Coldwater and Saginaw, Michigan; Uhrichsville, Ohio; Sapulpa, Oklahoma; Loudon and Shelbyville, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; and Friendly, West Virginia.

The states of Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia and Maricopa County, Arizona, joined the settlement and will share a portion of the civil penalty. This is the largest number of facilities ever included in a Clean Air Act settlement involving the secondary aluminum production industry.