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Owens-Brockway

Owens-Brockway Glass Plant #21 produces a variety of glass bottles and jars from post-consumer glass and raw materials. This plant has been operating in Portland since 1956.

On Nov. 10, 2022, DEQ issued Owens-Brockway's construction air quality permit to install its pollution controls. Owens-Brockway now has 18 months to complete the installation of the pollution controls with interim deadlines to ensure progress is made in a timely manner. Pollution controls reduce emissions and are one of the best ways a facility can protect the health of those living and working nearby. See more details in the Enforcement dropdown below.

Owens-Brockway will continue operating under restricted interim limits until they install the specified air pollution controls.

Please note, the construction air quality permit is for installation of the controls only. Owens-Brockway has a separate air quality permit for operations. See the Air quality permitting section below.

Current actions

Current status: In January 2022 DEQ approved Owens-Brockway's modeling protocol for demonstrating the facility's level of compliance with short-term National Ambient Air Quality Standards, and Owens-Brockway submitted the results of this modelling. DEQ is currently reviewing the results and working to incorporate key modelling parameters into the permit. The permit will address any outcomes from the NAAQS compliance modeling, the Regional Haze, and the June 2021 enforcement action. More information about Regional Haze and Enforcement in the dropdown menus below.

DEQ is working on drafting the permit and will likely conduct a public process in the first quarter of 2023.​

Background: Owens-Brockway currently has a Title V air quality permit with DEQ. On May 10, 2021, EPA issued an order requiring DEQ to revise Owens-Brockway's Title V air quality permit and/or the permit record in 90 days. Specifically, the order requires DEQ to re-examine how the permit ensures compliance with particulate matter emission limits. DEQ also received a memorandum from EarthJustice on April 24, 2021 that summarized emissions modelling of the facility and raised concerns about the permit's ability to ensure Owens-Brockway did not exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, for one-hour sulfur dioxide, one-hour nitrogen dioxide and 24-hour PM2.5.

On June 25, 2021, DEQ sent a letter to Owens-Brockway informing the facility of DEQ's intent to reopen its permit in response to EPA's order and to assure compliance with emission limits and NAAQS. In its letter, DEQ requested that the facility provide information that could inform DEQ's permit reopening.

Since then, Owens-Brockway has made a number of submittals. First, Owens-Brockway submitted a permit modification application on July 28, 2021 to remove Furnace A, one of its two remaining glass-making furnaces, from its air quality permit. This permit change would eliminate Owens-Brockway's authorization to operate Furnace A, and signaled the company's intention to keep the furnace permanently shut down. The facility has also requested an opportunity to perform its own NAAQS modelling analysis, and submitted a modelling protocol to DEQ on Sept. 20, 2021. The modelling protocol is currently under review.

Second, on Aug. 9, 2021, the company executed a Regional Haze Stipulated Agreement and Final Order with DEQ, see more information below.

DEQ has also made two visits to the Owens-Brockway plant since the EPA order to verify site conditions and evaluate compliance.

DEQ has asked EPA for an extension of the 90 day deadline to evaluate and incorporate new information into a revised permit and to see if the parties can arrive at a more comprehensive solution. DEQ expects to issue a revised permit this fall that will respond to EPA's order, incorporate the Regional Haze agreement and any final enforcement orders, and impose conditions necessary to assure compliance with NAAQS and emission limits.​​

Current status: On March 10, 2022, DEQ approved the final risk assessment for Owens-Brockway. The results reflect uncontrolled operations at the facility and is not representative of risk after the facility completes installation of the combined ceramic filter unit discussed above. The risk assessment results trigger permit requirements and source risk limits. DEQ is currently preparing draft source risk limits and associated permit conditions to be incorporated into the facility's Title V operating permit.​

For information on Owens-Brockway's Cleaner Air Oregon status, visit the facility's project page.​​

​Regional Haze is a program that large stationary sources of air pollution in Oregon are required to go through in order to determine what reasonable controls are required to improve visibility in certain areas in Oregon and neighboring states. The rules applied to all sources with Title V air quality permits. For general information on Regional Haze, visit DEQ's Regional Haze page.

Current Status: DEQ entered a Stipulated Agreement and Final Order with Owens-Brockway to obtain compliance with Regional Haze on Aug. 9, 2021. Through the order, Owens-Brockway agreed not to operate Furnace A any longer; to accept tighter limits on sitewide emissions of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter by January 2022; and to make further reductions by July 2025. The requirements from this order will be incorporated into the air quality permit as described above. 

BackgroundOn July 23, 2021, the Environmental Quality Commission adopted new and revised rules for Regional Haze emissions control analysis for stationary sources. These rules detail a process that large stationary sources of air pollution in Oregon are required to go through in order to determine what reasonable controls are required to improve visibility in Oregon and neighboring states. The rules applied to all sources with Title V air quality permits.

The rules allow the facility demonstrate compliance through one of the following:

  1. Evaluate emission controls for effectiveness at reducing regional haze emissions and install controls deemed cost effective by DEQ;

  2. Reduce permitted emissions below a specific threshold identified in the rule;

  3. Work with DEQ to identify and install alternative control options that would reduce regional haze pollutants; and/or

  4. Replace emission units with lower-emitting equipment.

On Aug. 9, 2021, DEQ entered a Stipulated Agreement and Final Order with Owens-Brockway to obtain compliance with Regional Haze. Through the order, Owens-Brockway agreed to no longer operate Furnace A, to reduce nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions from Furnace D by January 2022, and to make further reductions by July 2025. Owens-Brockway is working to identify potential methods to reduce emissions from Furnace D. The facility also agreed not to use, restart or rebuild Furnaces B and C without first going through future emissions control analysis.

DEQ incorporated this agreement into its proposed State Implementation Plan for Round II of Regional Haze, which is currently out on public comment until Nov. 1, 2021. Read more and provide comments on DEQ's Regional Haze proposed rulemaking page.​

Current Status: 

On Nov. 10, 2022, DEQ issued Owens-Brockway's construction air quality permit to install its pollution controls. Owens-Brockway now has 18 months to complete the installation of the pollution controls with interim deadlines to ensure progress is made in a timely manner. Pollution controls reduce emissions and are one of the best ways a facility can protect the health of those living and working nearby.

Owens-Brockway will continue operating under restricted interim limits until they install the specified air pollution controls.

BackgroundOn June 3, 2021, DEQ issued a $1 million civil penalty and order to Owens-Brockway for air quality violations, including ongoing exceedances of the total particulate matter and opacity limits in the permit. 

On Oct. 22, 2021, DEQ signed an agreement​ with Owens-Brockway resolving the enforcement action and giving Owens-Brockway two options: install pollution controls or shut down. 

There are three main components to the agreement: deadlines, an interim opacity limit and a supplemental environmental project. 

  • Deadlines
    On June 30 2022, Owens-Brockway sent an application to DEQ to install a ceramic filter. The controls must reduce particulate matter, or PM, emissions by 95% and ensure compliance with applicable PM limits. Within 18 months of DEQ's approval of that application, Owens-Brockway must complete installation of the controls.

  • Interim opacity limit
    Until Owens-Brockway installs controls, the company will continue to be subject to an interim opacity limit. Opacity is a surrogate for PM, and the limit helps ensure that Owens-Brockway will operate the facility in a manner that reduces PM emissions until the company installs controls. Violations of the interim limit will result in a penalty of $18,000 per violation.

  • Supplemental environmental project
    DEQ required Owens-Brockway to spend $529,404 of the penalty on one or more projects that will provide air quality benefits to the surrounding community. In March 2022, DEQ approved Owens-Brockway's application for a supplemental environmental project to contribute these funds to Friends of Trees for tree planting efforts. DEQ incorporated this into Owens-Brockway's agreement with DEQ. The project will pay to plant trees in the Sumner neighborhood, where the facility is located, as well in the adjacent neighborhoods of Cully, Parkrose, Argay and Wilkes, and within the nearby Columbia Slough Watershed in northeast Portland. Learn more about supplemental environmental projects in general at DEQ's Supplemental Environmental Projects page. ​

The total settled civil penalty is $661,756 from the original $1 million. The penalty reduction, as compared to the penalty assessed in DEQ's June 2021 notice of civil penalty assessment and order, is primarily due to Owens-Brockway's commitment to install controls.

Owens-Brockway notified DEQ on June 30, 2022 that they intend to install pollution controls. Under the signed agreement between the facility and DEQ, Owens-Brockway submitted a Notice of Approval​ application, permit modification and associated materials. Their application proposes installation of a catalytic ceramic filter, to control particulate matter. In addition, the filter will control emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. 

On Nov. 10, 2022, DEQ issued Owens-Brockway's construction air quality permit to install its pollution controls. DEQ put this permit on public notice from Sept. 29, 2022 to Nov. 7, 2022 and held a public hearing on Nov. 3, 2022. View the presentation​ from the public hearing.

Owens-Brockway now has 18 months to complete the installation of the pollution controls with interim deadlines to ensure progress is made in a timely manner. Pollution controls reduce emissions and are one of the best ways a facility can protect the health of those living and working nearby.

Owens-Brockway will continue operating under restricted interim limits until they install the specified air pollution controls.

Contact

For media inquiries:
Lauren Wirtis
Office of Communications and Outreach