The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has fined East Side Plating in Portland, Oregon, $139,505 for violating the Clean Air Act. 

During 2022 inspections, the EPA says East Side Plating failed to comply with Clean Air Act requirements applicable to electroplating operations at the facility.

According to the EPA, East Side Plating corrected all identified issues. The shop and the agency reached a consent decree in March, signed by owner Gary Rehnberg.

Specifically, the EPA says East Side Plating violated the following requirements: 

  • Failed to install covers on its nickel-plating tanks.
  • Failed to implement good housekeeping practices that reduce emissions.
  • Failed to keep records of fume suppressant chemical additions to electroplating tanks.
  • Failed to measure the amount of electricity used by individual electroplating tanks.

“Businesses need to comply with the law,” says EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski. “By evaluating and improving work practices, shops can decrease emissions, reduce production costs, and protect employee and public health.”

Action Taken as Part of Reducing Air Toxics

This action is part of a national enforcement and compliance initiative, Reducing Air Toxics.

At the time of a November 9, 2022, inspection, the EPA says it observed “widespread noncompliance with these requirements” and cited the company for “Failure to Comply with Tank Management Practices,” writing in its report:

  • Lines 24 and 26: the sump pump was filled with a significant amount of spilled plating solution due to hoses left running, submerged pipes that were disconnected, and dragout from the plating tanks. Plating liquid was splashing onto the catwalk due to an air leak. EPA observed poor housekeeping throughout the lines, including dirt and residue covering the tanks. This included affected tanks TS-2402, TS-2461B, TS-2417, TS-2619B, TS-2620, TS-2630, TS-2633, and TS-2633.
  • Line 28: EPA observed poor housekeeping throughout the line, including dirt and residue covering the tanks. This included affected tanks TS-2801, TS-2861C, TS- 2817C, TS-2818C, TS-2819C, TS-2820C, TS-2821, and TS-2831.
  • Line 25: the sump pump was filled with a significant amount of spilled plating solution, and a Facility representative was unable to identify the last time Respondent had pumped out the sumps. EPA also observed poor housekeeping throughout the line, including dirt and residue covering the tanks. This included affected tanks TS-2504, TS-2505, TS-2506, TS-2509, and TS-2510.
  • Line 21: the sump pump was filled with a significant amount of spilled plating solution. EPA also observed poor housekeeping throughout the line, including dirt and residue covering the tanks. This included affected tanks TS-2101D, TS- 2102B, TS-2109B, and TS-2111.
  • Line 22: EPA observed poor housekeeping throughout the line, including dirt and residue covering the tanks. This included affected tanks TS-2206, TS-2210, TS- 2212, TS-2213, TS-2214C, TS-2215, and TS-2216.

Shop Cited for Records Management

The EPA also cited Eastside for “Failure to Maintain Records of Compliance with Management Practices,” writing in its report that “Respondent failed to maintain records of wetting agent/fume suppressant chemical additions to electrolytic nickel-plating tanks for calendar years 2019, 2020, and 2021.”

Eastside was also cited for “Failure to Maintain Records of Tank Ampere Hours,” and the EPA wrote in its inspection that the “Respondent was not operating ampere meters at any of its electrolytic nickel-plating tanks, in violation of Conditions 10.1.g and 10.2 of Respondent’s AQGP-026A.”

In the consent decree, the EPA says that Eastside Plating “admits the jurisdictional allegations of this Consent Agreement” and that the “Respondent neither admits nor denies the specific factual allegations contained in this Consent Agreement.”