LaPLACE, La.—Denka Performance Elastomer has begun operation of new emissions control equipment at its LaPlace neoprene production facility, as specified in the company's agreement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Denka announced.
All of the new equipment, including Denka's Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer, was online by the end of 2017, as specified in the Administrative Order on Consent the company signed with the LDEQ on Jan. 6, 2017, Denka said in a press release dated Jan. 11, 2018.
The RTO is one of four main projects under the administrative order designed to sharply reduce chloroprene emissions from the LaPlace facility, according to Denka. It is the most significant voluntary emissions-reducing project the company is undertaking under the agreement, it said.
"Our voluntary emissions reduction plan represents Denka's commitment to our community," Plant Manager Jorge Lavastida said in the press release. "We have followed through on a promise made to our neighbors, employees and the state of Louisiana."
In addition to the RTO, Denka has installed a brine condenser on the poly kettles vent, as well as a vacuum pump and vent condenser on the CD refining column, the company said.
Denka has also routed various emission sources to an existing combustion unit, it said.
The firm also said it expects significant reductions of ambient concentrations of chloroprene at LaPlace, thanks to its emission reduction activities.
It will monitor ambient air concentrations of chloroprene alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine the efficacy and track the progress of its emission reduction efforts, it said.
Denka purchased the LaPlace facility from DuPont in November 2015. DuPont had produced neoprene in LaPlace since 1969.
In June 2016, a group of LaPlace residents filed a class action lawsuit against Denka and DuPont in the 40th Judicial District Court for St. John the Baptist Parish in LaPlace.
In that suit, the LaPlace residents claimed that chloroprene emissions from the plant caused their cancer. They accused DuPont of deliberately hiding its knowledge of the carcinogenic effects of chloroprene from the public, and Denka of continuing the alleged deception after buying the plant.
The litigation is ongoing, according to a Denka spokesman.