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PPG Wants To Continue Mercury Discharge Levels

November 16, 2011
Wetzel Chronicle

PPG Industries' Natrium plant has requested a variance from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) in regard to its Pollution Control Standards provision which prohibits mixing zones for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern beginning no later than Oct. 16, 2013.

The request is in regard to their discharge of mercury to the Ohio River. PPG's current permit allows for water quality-based effluent limits (WQBELs) for mercury (Hg), stated as total Hg (THg) in whole water (unfiltered) samples (W-THg), of 124 ng/L monthly average and 215 ng/L daily maximum.

However, under ORSANCO 2009 Pollution Control Standards Section VI.G, mixing zones for Bioaccumulative Chemicals of Concern (BCCs), including mercury, will not be allowed after Oct. 16, 2013. The WQBELs for Outlet 009 in the current NPDES Permit WV0004359, therefore, are scheduled to change as of October 16, 2013, to 8.8 ng/L monthly average and 20.8 ng/L daily maximum for W-THg.

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"PPG has already expended considerable effort to achieve the permit limits scheduled to take effect on October 16, 2013, and, despite achieving substantial Hg discharge reductions, has not been able to do so," says the request. "PPG has also evaluated the feasibility of changing the Hg-cell chlorine process to an alternative process, but this conversion is both prohibitively expensive and would not create a substantial decrease in the discharge Hg concentrations. PPG therefore believes it will be technically impracticable to meet the WQBELs scheduled to take effect on October 16, 2013, despite implementing all practical Hg minimization measures and treatment options."

PPG specifically requests continued use of a mixing zone for W-THg in Outlet 009 for the life of permit WV0004359, rather than ending on October 16, 2013, as is required by Section VI.G, and written in the current permit. Permit WV0004359 is scheduled to expire on January 10, 2014. ORSANCO is allowed to grant such a variance, which may be renewed for subsequent permit periods, under the provisions of ORSANCO PCS Section VIII. PPG is also requesting that the variance be renewed for the term of the permit that would take effect when the current permit expires.

"PPG is not asking for any increases in Hg discharges and, hence, is not asking for any changes that would negatively impact any designated uses for the Ohio River," stated their request document.

A pdf of the entire document is available on the Wetzel Chronicle's Web site ( with this story.

The commission is accepting comments from the public from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Subsequently, the commission's Pollution Control Standards Committee will consider the request and supporting information, as well as public comments received, and develop a recommendation as to final disposition of the variance request. Following development of that recommendation, a second 45-day public comment period will be held prior to the full commission's final decision.

Comments should be received in writing at the commission headquarters, 5735 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45230 or by e-mail no later than Dec. 15.

For more information on the variance request, visit ORSANCO's Web site at or call ORSANCO offices at 513-231-7719.

ORSANCO is the water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries. Member states include: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The federal government is also represented.



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