Ohio EPA Completes Review of Proposed Cracker Plant
Issues modified water permit for project
SHADYSIDE — The environmental review of the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant proposed for the Dilles Bottom area is complete.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a modified wastewater discharge permit for the planned facility on Thursday. That step clears the way for construction of the plant that would be located at Old Route 7 and Ferry Landing Road south of Shadyside, at the site of the former R.E. Burger coal-fired power plant.
PTTGC America and its partner, Daelim Industrial Co., have acquired the 500 acres of property needed for construction of the facility, but they still have not officially announced whether they will move forward with the plan. However, the modified water permit and an air permit-to-install issued by the Ohio EPA earlier this month represent the final hurdles the companies needed to clear with regulatory agencies before breaking ground. PTTGC of Thailand first announced it was exploring the possibility of building a petrochemical complex in the local region in April 2015. Daelim, of South Korea, joined the effort in January of this year, increasing the potential project investment from $6 billion to $10 billion, according to an announcement by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“With today’s issuance of this modified permit, Ohio EPA’s environmental review of PTTGC America’s proposed ethane cracker plant is complete,” Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler said.
“We have been careful to ensure this facility will not have an adverse impact on the air, water or health of the surrounding communities.”
The modifications to the wastewater discharge permit conditions will:
∫ Decrease the levels of pollutants to be discharged to the Ohio River;
∫ Change the locations where storm water, which is water that runs off impervious surfaces after rain events, will be discharged; and
∫ Modify limits at an internal monitoring station that does not directly discharge to surface water.
Ohio EPA held a public information session and hearing in Shadyside on Dec. 12, and officials said they considered all comments received before making a final decision on the water permit. These comments are addressed in a Response to Comments document. The final permit and the Response to Comments document are available on Ohio EPA’s website at epa.ohio.gov/Portals/35/permits/SCOSW-ONLYP18122713180.pdf.
The final air permit-to-install and the Response to Comments document for that permit also are available online at epa.ohio.gov/dapc/newpermits/issued. The issuance of that permit still can be appealed. Call ERAC at 614-466-8950 for more information on filing an appeal.
Dan Williamson, spokesman for PTTGC America, said approval of the water permit modifications, like approval of the air permit, was a positive step for the project.
“This is an important step in the direction of the final investment decision for the project,” Williamson said. “It has been a pleasure to work with the (Ohio) EPA. Their process has been very open and thorough, and we’re appreciative of their hard work.”
A cracker plant processes ethane, a liquid portion of the natural gas stream found throughout Eastern Ohio, to create ethylene and other components used to manufacture plastics and chemical products. Ethane is abundant in our region, though the local area currently lacks the facilities to process it. Royal Dutch Shell already is building an ethane cracker at nearby Monaca, Pennsylvania, but industry experts say the Appalachian Basin contains plenty of ethane to supply the operation of multiple cracker plants.