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Explosion is just the latest in a string of problems at Akron chemical plant

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 08:16:31-04

As fire crews rushed to Emerald Performance Materials' Akron plant on Wednesday, it marked the latest incident at the plant that is well-known to state and federal regulators.

Using state and federal records, 5 On Your Side Investigators found Emerald has paid more than $100,000 in penalties for environmental and workplace safety violations.

That includes a $100,000 settlement in 2016 with the U.S. EPA for issues including a "failure to prevent non-sudden releases of hazardous materials." 

Records show problems at the chemical company continued. Last November, state inspectors found Emerald's records were missing names of hazardous waste managers and information for emergency coordinators wasn't complete inside the plant. Inspectors also found the locations of fire suppression equipment were missing from the plant's contingency plan. The state said those issues were later resolved.

But workplace safety issues have been a problem dating back to 2011 at the Akron plant. According to OSHA records, Emerald paid $36,800 in penalties and was cited for 17 serious violations across three inspections. Those violations include not conducting required inspections of equipment and requiring workers to re-enter areas after chemical releases without making the workers wear breathing protection.

Below is a list of toxic releases from Emerald Performance Materials by chemical and year from 2008-2016:

The public relations company representing Emerald did not return a phone call seeking comment about the company's safety record.


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