(Manufacturing site in Freeport, TX; Credit: Dow Chemical Company)

Dow Chemical Company and two of its subsidiaries will spend approximately $294 million to eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from four petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana. The reduction in pollution comes as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, the EPA, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality which alleged that Dow and its subsidiaries violated the Clean Air Act by failing to properly operate and monitor industrial flares at their petrochemical facilities.

The complaint alleges that the chemical company and subsidiaries Performance Materials NA Inc. and Union Carbide Corporation “oversteamed” their flares and failed to comply with other key operating parameters that ensure the volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants contained in the gases routed to the flares are effectively combusted.

The companies will spend about $294 million to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce flaring and the resulting harmful air pollution from 26 industrial flares. Dow will minimize the waste gas sent to the flares at each facility by operating flare gas recovery systems that recover the gases instead of sending them to be combusted in a flare. Dow can reuse these gases as a fuel at its facilities or sell it. Dow will also create waste minimization plans for each facility to further reduce flaring.

Once fully implemented, the pollution controls required by the settlement are estimated to reduce harmful air emissions of volatile organic compounds by more than 5,600 tons per year. The settlement is also expected to reduce toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by nearly 500 tons per year. Dow will also pay a civil penalty of $3 million.

As part of its overall sustainability goals, Dow has set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The company says that in the past 15 years, it has reduced our carbon emissions by 15%.