Hixson Metal Finishing and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) have reached an agreement over air emissions at the Newport Beach, California, finishing plant.
The SCAQMD filed a motion in April to seek an order from its independent five-member hearing board to require Hixson to reduce its emissions and risk to the community on an expedited schedule. SCAQMD said it has monitored outdoor levels of hexavalent chromium for several years at two locations near Hixson, and its data indicated that Hixson was the source of elevated levels of hex chromium.
But Hixson President Douglas Greene said his company had done everything that the SCAQMD has asked it to do over the past several years, and that the high levels were not caused by his company.
“We have observed surrounding operations and believe that there are additional business activities that may contribute to these elevated and sporadic emissions,” Greene says.
In May, the SCAQMD’s hearing board adopted a “findings and order” that stipulated continued mitigation efforts by Hixson and testing by SCAQMD. The hearing board praised Hixson as well as its own staff for working cooperatively to develop a stipulated plan to continue to reduce emissions in the vicinity of Hixson’s plant.
“As part of our continued cooperation with the district AQMD staff, we are pleased to be moving forward after the board’s approval of the order,” Greene says. “Our dedication to this community and industry is demonstrated through our top safety and environmental standards and through our open-door policy with the district. As a contributor to this community for the past 50 years, we are committed to the health and safety of our neighbors and employees.”
Hixson has been actively working with SCAQMD for several years on improving its air emissions and has openly invited SCAQMD into its facility numerous times. That has resulted in more than $250,000 in facility improvements in equipment and filters, Greene says.
SCAQMD’s executive officer, Barry Wallerstein, agrees that Hixson has taken steps in the past to reduce its emissions, “however, more work needs to be done,” he says.
Greene says Hixson will continue to defend itself and that it is not the source of the additional pollutants. “We are proud to provide top quality processing services to the aerospace and defense industry in an environmentally sound and responsible manner,” he says. ”We strive to be the best supplier in the industry and have worked tirelessly to maintain and expand our corporate social responsibility initiatives.”
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The average plating shop has about eight finishing lines in use, while the average Top Shops has almost 13 lines, according to the 2017 Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey results.