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TIMET to pay $500K for accidental 2012 chlorine gas release in Henderson

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement Wednesday with Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET) for an accidental chlorine release at its plant in Henderson in March 2012.

A statement by the EPA said TIMET failed to immediately notify authorities of the chlorine release, which it said continued unabated for several hours and drew odor complaints from residents up to 7 miles away. Exposure to chlorine gas can trigger headaches, bronchitis and asthma; acute exposure causes more severe respiratory effects, and can result in fatalities, it said.

Under the deal, the company agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty and hire an independent auditor to assess emergency preparedness programs and overall chemical safety at its 108-acre site adjacent to Lake Mead Parkway east of U.S. Highway 95.

In a statement Wednesday, TIMET said it and parent company Precision Castparts Corp. “have worked and will continue to work cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement an enhanced risk management program in response to the violations.”

It’s not the first time that TIMET, a maker of titanium sponge used in parts for airplanes, cars, bullets and many other products, has had to pay for violating environmental regulations at the site at the Black Mountain Industrial Complex.

In May 2014 the company agreed to pay a record $13.8 million penalty for producing and dumping banned cancer-causing PCB at the site over a period of years. At the time, the EPA and U.S. Department of Justice said the fine was the largest ever imposed for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act at a single facility.

In 1999 TIMET paid $430,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed it had violated the federal Clean Air Act with excessive emissions of sulfur dioxide.

In 1996 the plant accidentally released chlorine gas multiple times, including one incident that sickened a dozen children at nearby Burkholder Middle School and garnered the company a then-record $10,000 fine by the Air Pollution Control Division of the Clark County Health District.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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