Oregon’s largest glass
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Oregon’s largest glass

Jun 07, 2023

Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., located near N.E. Columbia Blvd. and 92nd Drive in Portland, is the state's largest glass container recycler. The company received another fine this month for violating emissions standards.Mark Graves/The Oregonian

A Northeast Portland glass-recycling plant has received another fine for violating emissions standards required under its operating permit and for failing to comply with an interim agreement to limit pollution.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $213,600 penalty to Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc. on Wednesday for the violations. The agency said the infractions are part of a pattern at the facility for over a decade.

The company, located just west of Interstate 205 off Northeast Columbia Boulevard in the Sumner neighborhood, melts down used beer and wine bottles to create new glass containers. It’s Oregon’s largest glass-bottle recycler and a key player in the state’s curbside-recycling programs.

Owens-Brockway had been fined nine times since 2004 for air-quality violations, and local residents and community groups had pushed regulators for years to reduce pollution from the plant. The pollution impacts economically marginalized neighborhoods, including Sumner and nearby Cully and Parkrose.

The company, a subsidiary of glass-manufacturing giant O-I Glass Inc., two years ago faced a $1 million fine over its multiple air-quality violations. In October 2021, it reached an agreement with state regulators that reduced the penalty to $662,000 and required it to install pollution controls or shut down. The company also agreed to limit pollution in the interim.

O-I Glass spokesperson Jim Woods declined to comment about the new violations.

DEQ now say the company exceeded the interim agreement’s limits on opacity — an indicator of particulate matter being released into the air — twice in July 2022 and six times in May 2023. It also violated the opacity limit of its operating permit in May 2023. The company also failed to report the July 2022 excess emissions to the state.

The state regulator says the company subsequently implemented a system to ensure that excess emissions are reported to the state and then reported the May 2023 violations. It also corrected the conditions which caused a higher opacity at the plant.

DEQ also says the company is still on track to install air-pollution control technology by May 2024 to reduce particulate matter. A catalytic ceramic filter to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide is also in the works. In addition, the company has reported that it’s putting one of its glass-melting furnaces on hold, meaning particulate-matter pollution will be reduced in the interim.

– Gosia Wozniacka; [email protected]; @gosiawozniacka

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