SELKIRK, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  SABIC chemicals will shell out around $322,400 to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The penalty is for the company’s accidental release of styrene vapor in September of 2020.

“We’re confident that our approach over the last two years has led to significant upgrades to the facility and that certain procedures have been improved,” says DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, “this sends a message that the cop is on the beat. We will look to polluters and hold them accountable if they run afoul of the law. We will run that as far as we can to fix the problem.” 

Styrene vapor is toxic when emitted into the air. It can cause respiratory problems as well as irritation of the skin and eyes. The gas is also highly flammable and can be poisonous if burnt.

In September of 2020, officials responded to the SABIC facility after around 20,000 pounds of styrene vapor were emitted into the air when it leaked from a rail car. According to Commissioner Seggos, since the 2020 incident, DEC has returned several times to SABIC for inspections.

“We also went farther beyond than the tank car issue to inspect the facility at large. And found 29 additional violations under the Clean Air Act and some of the material handlings laws and regulations that are here in New York State,” the commissioner said.

In a response to the two orders of consent, SABIC says, “the Company has implemented corrective measures to ensure strict compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and appreciates DEC’s cooperation in the resolution of these issues.”