Oil City projects benefit via DEP enforcement

From staff reports

The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved funding for Oil City’s rehabilitation of the Hasson Park restroom facilities and complete bandshell construction at Justus Park.

A news release from the DEP says the projects will receive funds from DEP’s enforcement of violations of Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Control Act.

The DEP collected a total of $897,750 in civil penalties pursuant to a consent order and agreement with Webco on Dec. 12.

In accordance with Act 57 of 2011, the release said, Oil City was eligible to receive 25% of the Act 57-eligible portion of civil penalties collected and use those funds for projects that eliminate or reduce air pollution for parks, recreation projects, trails or open spaces.

The release said DEP approved Oil City’s Act 57 request to support the Hasson Park restroom project, with those funds going toward repairs, upgrades and construction required to meet compliance with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the bandshell project, with those funds going toward the purchase and installment of a shade awning extension.

Oil City is expecting to have both projects completed by next August.

“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water,” DEP Northwest regional director Erin Wells said. “DEP is here to uphold these rights and ensure impacted communities such as Oil City receive a portion of these penalties for projects that improve the environment and our communities.”

Webco and DEP entered the consent order and agreement after Webco’s disclosure that carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from the facility were significantly higher than previously known, according to the release.

In November 2020, a Webco facility in Oklahoma discovered there was a historical error in the calculation of CO emissions from its DX generator, which prompted Webco to investigate emissions from its similar Oil City facility, the release said.

Webco’s subsequent testing at the Oil City facility, the release said, confirmed CO emissions were high enough that the facility was required to undergo additional permitting review under the federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration program to ensure the emissions were not resulting in impacts to ambient air quality in the Oil City area.

Webco also disclosed additional violations of Pennsylvania’s Reasonably Available Control Technology and Title V Operating Permit requirements, according to the release.

DEP is reviewing the required permit applications and will provide the community an opportunity to comment on the application.