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Scrap firm fined for refrigerant venting

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USA: A scrap metal recycling company is to pay a civil penalty of $442,500 for failing to recover refrigerant from appliances and motor vehicle air conditioners.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced the settlement with Derichebourg Recycling USA Inc of Houston, Texas, to resolve Clean Air Act violations at 10 scrap metal recycling facilities in Texas and Oklahoma.  

Derichebourg were accused of failing to recover refrigerant from appliances and motor vehicle air conditioners before disposal or verify with the supplier that the refrigerant had been properly recovered prior to delivery. 

Under the settlement, Derichebourg will pay a civil penalty of $442,500. Derichebourg will also implement a refrigerant recovery management programme at its 10 US facilities. It will also notify its suppliers that all refrigerant, if not being recovered by Derichebourg, must be recovered correctly and reject any appliance or vehicle where there is evidence of unlawful refrigerant venting. An educational handout will also need to be supplied to its customers on compliant handling of refrigerant-containing items and Derichebourg must also complete an environmental mitigation project that involves ensuring the destruction of all R12 refrigerant that Derichebourg collects at its ten facilities for the duration of the consent decree. 

The consent decree, lodged in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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