Ill. AG Lawsuit Alleges DuPage County Plant’s Paint Booth Released Contaminants, Damaged Cars

June 8, 2005

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit charging a DuPage County coating and silk screening plant with emissions violations after an investigation prompted by reports that automobiles parked near its facility had been damaged with paint spots uncovered alleged air pollution violations.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday, June 3, before the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB), charges Phoenix Finishing Inc., an electronic parts coating and silk screening facility in Bensenville, with violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act for failure to obtain air pollution permits, failure to comply with emission limitation standards, and failure to file an annual emissions report.

A January 2004 inspection of the Phoenix Finishing facility by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) revealed the company’s liquid and powder coating and silk screening operations were being conducted in paint booths that vented to the outside. As part of the coating and silk screening operations, Phoenix Finishing allegedly used coating materials, including inks, dilutents and cleaning materials, which can emit contaminants known as volatile organic materials (VOM).

Madigan’s lawsuit alleges that from at least 1997 through at least April 2004, Phoenix Finishing used coatings that contained VOM exceeding the state’s emissions limitations. The lawsuit also alleges the company did not have the required air pollution permits in 2003 and 2004, and did not file an annual emissions report in 2003.

Madigan’s lawsuit asks the IPCB to schedule a hearing during which Phoenix Finishing will be required to answer the allegations. The lawsuit also asks the board to prohibit the defendants from further violating Illinois’ environmental protection laws.

Finally, the lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 for each violation of the act and additional penalties of $10,000 for each day of the violation.

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