KMI faces fines from EGLE over chemical use

107
Firefighters respond to a fire at the Kassouni Manufacturing plant in Belding. Courtesy Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. is facing a $115,000 fine as part of a proposed consent order with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy over safety concerns tied to the use of a chemical used to make chlorine tablets for swimming pools.

In a news bulletin Monday, EGLE said it escalated its enforcement against Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. (KMI) after several violations were identified when KMI failed to properly handle chemicals leading to fires at its facility in Belding.

The state said trichloroisocyanuric acid (TCICA) was not disposed of properly at the facility. The chemical can catch fire and release chlorine gas when exposed to small amounts of water.

The city of Belding in March reached a consent decree with Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. (KMI) that ended the company’s ability to use, produce or store TCICA.

TCICA chemicals were designed to kill bacteria and control algae in swimming pools and hot tubs but are highly reactive and present a dangerous explosion hazard. When handled incorrectly, TCICA releases toxic gases that can irritate and burn the nose, throat and lungs.

As the Business Journal reported in March, KMI, which is in a residential neighborhood at 815 S. Front St. in Belding, had two incidents involving TCICA last year. The first incident in June 2019 released a gas cloud over the city, resulting in dozens of complaints from residents. Less than a month later, TCICA was responsible for a dumpster fire and another gas cloud, drawing more complaints and a demand for action.

The company temporarily was ordered to cease operations, which only resumed after KMI agreed to stop making the tablets.

KMI is no longer making chlorine tablets at its facility, which is the primary and most important resolution to the enforcement action, EGLE said. To make this and other restrictions legally enforceable, EGLE drafted a proposed consent order that addresses alleged air quality violations; requires KMI to follow a compliance program; requires KMI to pay $115,000, due 30 days after the final consent order; and includes stipulated fines for future violations of the order.

The state is taking comment on the proposed consent order through Nov. 4. Those interested may email Jeff Rathbun in EGLE’s Air Quality Division at rathbunj1@michigan.gov.

Facebook Comments