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Second Paramount metal processing firm agrees to chromium 6 reduction plan

Anaplex Corp. has agreed to take steps to cut its emissions of chromium six.
Rebecca Plevin/KPCC
Anaplex Corp. has agreed to take steps to cut its emissions of chromium six.

The second of two Paramount metal processing firms blamed for emitting unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium has agreed to take steps to cut its emissions of the carcinogenic pollutant.

Anaplex Corp. hammered out the plan with the South Coast Air Quality Management District; the agency's independent Hearing Board unanimously approved the order for abatement Tuesday.

The order says if the company's emissions, averaged over a week, exceed a certain threshold, then it must shut down any equipment that could emit hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6. The threshold is designed to greatly reduce the cancer risk for nearby residents in the south Los Angeles city.

The plan took effect immediately. The other firm, Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., agreed to a similar order Dec. 20.

"I'm glad we reached agreement, as our shared goal with regulators and the community is to reduce pollution and improve the health of the community," Anaplex President Carmen Campbell said in a statement.

The Anaplex plan will substantially reduce chromium 6 emissions in Paramount, according to AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood, who said in an e-mail that ambient levels of the carcinogen near Aerocraft have fallen well bellow the action threshold since that company's order took effect.

Anaplex had initially declined to accept an abatement order similar to that of Aerocraft. That delay caused L.A. County and the AQMD to seek a temporary restraining order against the company. A Superior Court judge rejected the request. 

The AQMD started monitoring the air in Paramount in 2013, after community members complained about metallic odors. Residents believed the source of the odors was Carleton Forge Works.

Since then, Carleton Forge voluntarily implemented new measures to reduce emissions and odors. The district said the changes reduced the levels of nickel in the air.

But monitoring shows that chromium 6 levels have been increasing over the past year. 

The AQMD deployed eight additional monitors in Paramount in mid-October; they first registered extremely high chromium 6 emissions - 350 times typical background levels, according to the air district - on Oct. 27.