After racking up more than $60,000 in fines from an extensive chemical leak on Sept. 2, Neville Chemical has hired a law firm to mount an appeal against the county health department.
The company was issued an enforcement order Oct. 5 demanding $62,075 in total fines for six alleged violations. The order also required Neville Chemical to submit a corrective plan that would mitigate future risks.
In its appeal submitted Oct. 29, the company argues the fine is “unreasonable,” and demonstrates an “abuse of power” on behalf of the Allegheny County Health Department.
The appeal argues fees applied for late report submissions “mischaracterize” the company’s response to the investigation, while others were essentially duplicated and inconsistent with the health department’s own policies.
According to the violation notice, 956 pounds of Hazardous Air Pollutants (known as HAPs) were released during a five-hour period following the leak.
In a press statement, local advocacy organization Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), urged the health department not to relent on the chemical company.
“While GASP credits ACHD with taking swift enforcement action after the most recent incident, we again call on ACHD officials to address what health impacts if any were associated with the breakdown event, which resulted in a facility process releasing a year’s worth of hazardous emissions in a period of just five hours,” the statement says.