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Acid Plant Database July 14, 2014

Owner The Doe Run Company

doerunlogo.jpg (6487 bytes)

Location 881 Main Street
Herculaneum, Missouri
63048 USA
Background Formerly
- St. Joseph Lead Company (St. Joe Minerals Corp.)
- Doe Run Corp. formed by a joint venture between St. Joseph Lead Co. and Homestake Mining
(AMAX Lead Company of Missouri, Manger for AMAX-Homestake Lead Trollers)
- The Renco Group purchased Doe Run in 1994
Website www.doerun.com
Plant Herculaneum Smelter
Coordinates 38º 15' 37" N, 90º 22' 37" W
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source Lead (Pb)
Sinter Machine
Plant Capacity 180 MTPD
Emissions SO2: 20,000 lb/h from all sources
         (6 lb/h attributed to SO2 sources that do not emit through the main stack)
         (19,994 lb/h attributed to SO2 sources that emit through the main stack)
Sulphuric acid plant tailgas discharges through main stack so acid plant emission is not regulated separately
Status Shutdown: December 2013
Year Built 1968
Technology Chemical Construction Company - Chemico
Contractor Chemical Construction Company - Chemico
Remarks -
Permits State of Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Facility ID: 099-0003
Part 70 Permit to Operate
Permit No. Issue Date Expiration Date Date Modified
OP2006-011B December 17, 2007 December 16, 2012 -
- - - -
General -
References Missouri Permit No. OP2006-011B

December 14, 2014 - The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) is entering its final days of smelter operations in Herculaneum, Mo., where primary lead metal has been produced for 120 years. Doe Run’s smelter, the last primary lead metal smelter in the U.S., will cease smelting operations at the end of December.  “Our final production days will be our best,” stated Gary Hughes, general manager of Doe Run’s Metals Division. “We intend to meet our customers’ needs in a safe and responsible manner. We will receive the final shipment of lead concentrates from our Missouri mines in the next several days, producing one of the highest grades of primary lead metal in the world in the final weeks of December.”  Doe Run’s Missouri lead mines and mills, which will continue to operate, produce some of the world’s highest quality lead concentrate. The lead concentrate is highly valued by metal producers across the globe. Lead is a key component of batteries used for transportation and backup power in a variety of industries, including technology, communications and renewable energy. Approximately 98 percent of lead-acid batteries are recycled, turning the used metals and other components into new products. More than 13 million of these batteries are recycled annually at Doe Run’s lead recycling center located in southern Missouri, one of the world’s largest single-site lead recycling centers in the world. In addition to battery production, lead also has medical and military applications.  “Although we will continue to mine and mill lead, zinc, and copper from our underground mines, the ability to produce primary lead metal and their alloys domestically will vanish,” Hughes stated.  Following the closure of the smelter, 75 employees will be retained in 2014 to assist with continued refining and alloying, and the maintenance of our site.

In 2010, Doe Run reached a comprehensive settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Missouri. As part of that settlement, Doe Run agreed to discontinue its smelting operations in Herculaneum by the end of 2013.  “We saw no alternative to closing our plant,” stated Hughes. “We are aware of no primary lead smelting process that will meet the standard for ambient air at the Herculaneum site. We believe the only existing technology that can meet today’s standards in Herculaneum, as well as potential future standards, is the new electrowinning lead metal process we announced in 2010. We hoped to be building such a plant by now, however constructing a full-scale plant given other regulatory compliance spending requirements puts our company at financial risk. We may pursue a smaller scale plant if conditions become more favorable.”  The U.S. ambient air quality standard for lead emissions is the most restrictive in the world. In 2008, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead was reduced from 1.5 µg/m3 (micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air) to 0.15 µg/m3.  Doe Run had hoped to bring the revolutionary lead metal production technology online prior to the closure of the smelter. This proprietary, new technology uses a wet-chemical, electrowinning process instead of a heat-based smelting process, greatly reducing sulfur dioxide and lead emissions. In 2012, the company announced that costs to build an electrowinning plant similar in production size to the smelter were too great for the company given the present economic conditions and other demands on operations.  In the final days of the smelter’s operation, Doe Run will work to meet the metal needs of its customers, which include some of the largest battery manufacturers in the U.S., as well as manufacturers of radiation protection and radiation detection.  “Nearly every lead-acid battery produced in the U.S. is using lead metal that at some point originated with our mines and smelters,” stated Aaron Miller, Doe Run’s chief operating officer. “Today, much of the demand for lead and lead alloys can be met through recycling. However, specialty applications, as well as material for market growth, will have to come from foreign sources in the future. Without an adequate supply of imported lead, demand in the U.S. will soon outpace availability of lead metal.”  Doe Run has supplied 8 to 10 percent of U.S. demand for lead through its Herculaneum smelter.

Historically, the smelter in Herculaneum operated with approximately 300 employees. In 2010, the company announced it would cease primary smelting this year, and has since maintained its production with both Doe Run employees and skilled contractors.  “We have been working with our Herculaneum employees this past year to help them transition into new roles,” stated Pat Garey, talent manager at Doe Run. “We opened a Career Center in 2012 and have assisted employees with job skill assessment and development, resume and interview skill-building, access to internal and external job postings, and assistance with a variety of other resources. We have a strong, dedicated and highly skilled workforce. We are doing what we can to help them move into their next desired role.”  In November and early December, Doe Run hosted a total of four career fairs with area employers for its Herculaneum employees.

November 7, 2014 - On Dec. 31, 2013, The Doe Run Company’s primary lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., which has operated since 1892, will cease operations. As a result of the smelter’s closure, 145 Doe Run employees, and approximately 73 contractors, will lose their jobs. Seventy-five positions will be retained for closure and limited operations. Although the United States is home to a number of secondary lead smelters, which recycle lead from various sources, the Herculaneum facility is the last primary lead smelter in the United States. (Primary smelters produce lead from mined resources.)

June 11, 2013 - Scary moments Tuesday morning at the Doe Run Company smelting plant in Herculaneum after a pipe full of sulfuric acid broke injuring three workers.  Two had only minor injuries and they were treated and released from nearby hospitals.  One man however was hit in the face with acid. He was airlifted to Mercy Hospital`s burn unit in St. Louis.  But a firefighter at the scene said those facial burns were apparently not the ambulance crew`s most immediate concern.  “Anytime you have a burn to the face you are always concerned about the airway because things swell up real bad on you and getting that airway secured in essential to maintaining their life and survivability,” said Capt. Kevin Baker of the Herculaneum Fire Department. “The patient started feeling some tightness so the ambulance district decided to (put a breathing tube) in him and transfered him to St. Louis.”  There was no update Tuesday night about the identity of that man or his condition.  According to the company, the trouble started when workers went to check on a small leak in a storage line carrying sulfuric acid.  In a written statement, Gary Hughes, General Manager of the smelting division explains what happened next.  “It appears that during the course of the inspection, an employee may have accidentally come into contact with the line and the connection broke apart… The damaged line has been isolated, and there is no further risk to other employees or the environment. The incident is under investigation.”

June 29, 2012 - The nation's biggest lead producer said Friday it was abandoning plans to build a new $100 million plant in an eastern Missouri town but would go ahead with mothballing its existing smelter there by the end of next year.  St. Louis-based Doe Run Co. had insisted the new plant would include processing technology that would be more environmentally friendly than its existing smelter in Herculaneum that has been scorned for decades by environmentalists and regulators.
But Doe Run has "concluded that building a plant (in Herculaneum) would generate an unacceptable financial risk to the company," Jerry Pyatt, the company's vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We recognize this may be disappointing news for many. However, we see a bright future for Doe Run. We continue to be a strong business, and we are actively expanding our exploration in North America."  Pyatt said the company would continue to explore using the technology with other mineral resources, and "we will work with our employees to help them plan for their transition" as the smelter in Herculaneum — a 3,600-resident Mississippi River town about 30 miles south of St. Louis — closes by 2014.
Pyatt said Doe Run would continue supporting the repurposing of the Herculaneum site for future business and employment ventures.  Doe Run's announcement last year that it planned to build the new plant in Herculaneum was welcome news for many there. In addition to 270 jobs, the smelter has generated tax revenue considered vital for local government, including more than 10 percent of the local property tax for the Dunklin School District.  It is the nation's only primary lead smelter, extracting from raw ore the lead used in things such as car batteries, computer screens and X-ray shields. Doe Run has previously warned that if the old smelter were closed and not replaced, the U.S. risked becoming dependent on China and other countries for its primary lead metal.  Still, the Herculaneum smelter has always presented a quandary for Herculaneum. Residents have sued Doe Run over pollution from the plant, and the company has grappled with state regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency over its ability to contain the lead. Lead poisoning can hurt learning, IQ and memory in children, and cause cardiovascular, blood pressure and kidney problems in adults.
Over the past three decades, the EPA has cited Doe Run and fined the company many times for air pollution, lead dust in homes, and elevated levels of the metal in yards and children's blood.
Doe Run has responded by buying out 130 residential properties near the smelter and replacing the soil at more than 500 homes. Much of that property has been transformed into the off-limits green space.  Herculaneum Mayor Bill Haggard viewed Friday's news with sadness.  "Obviously, we are disappointed they are not going to be building anywhere," he said, looking ahead to next year's closure. "All along we thought it was going to be built. We always thought (the smelter) would be there. It has been there for more than a century, and it will be a little strange to think we're not going to see it anymore."

October 12, 2010 - The Doe Run Lead company plans have a new, cleaner, smelter in operation in about three years. A company spokesman says Doe Run is looking for ways to finance the $150 million plant will not release lead, carbon dioxide, or sulfur dioxide into the air.  The announcement has come a week after the company agreed with federal regulators to spend $65 million to fix environmental problems at Doe Run and eventually close its smelter at Herculaneum.

October 11, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Oct. 8 announced that Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, North America’s largest lead producer, has agreed to spend approximately $65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri.

The settlement also requires the company to pay a $7 million civil penalty.

“For years families with children near Doe Run’s facilities have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins in the environment,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Infants and young children are at the greatest risk from lead exposure, which even at low levels can cause behavioral problems, learning deficits and lowered IQ. [The] settlement requires Doe Run to take aggressive actions to clean up their act and work to ensure that families living near the company’s facilities are protected from lead poisoning and other harmful pollution.”

“This settlement will reduce lead pollution in the town of Herculaneum and in other southeastern Missouri communities, as well as encourage the development of innovative technology and projects to improve the environment in impacted communities,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resource Division. “It should also send a message to all companies that handle hazardous waste, such as lead: You must comply with the laws that are intended to protect public health and the environment.”

Instead of installing pollution control technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions at its aging Herculaneum lead smelter, Doe Run has made a business decision to comply with its Clean Air Act obligations and shut down of the smelter by Dec 31, 2013. The company will also provide an initial $8.14 million in financial assurance to guarantee cleanup work at the Herculaneum facility.

The closing of the Herculaneum smelter is expected to result in significant benefits to public health and the environment by annually reducing at least 101,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 22 tons of carbon monoxide, 2.5 tons of volatile organic chemicals, 23 tons of particulate matter, 13.5 tons of nitrogen oxides, 42,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 30 tons of lead. These reductions will result in significant health and environmental benefits to the Herculaneum and St. Louis areas, which are currently violating federal air standards for lead, ozone and particulate matter.

As part of the settlement, Doe Run will pay a civil penalty of $7 million for violating a series of environmental laws, including the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (known as Superfund), and the Missouri Air Conservation Law, Clean Water Law, and Hazardous Waste Management Law. The penalty will be paid by Doe Run in a $3.5 million payment to the United States, and a $1.5 million payment to the State of Missouri, with an additional $1 million plus interest to be paid to the state each year for the next two years.

The settlement also requires Doe Run to establish financial assurance trust funds, at an estimated cost of $28 million to $33 million, for the cleanup of Herculaneum and the following active or former mining and milling facilities: Brushy Creek, Buick, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum, and West Fork. Doe Run will also take steps to finalize and come into compliance with more stringent Clean Water Act permits at 10 of its facilities, including Herculaneum, Glover, Buick mill, Brushy Creek, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum, West Fork, Mine #35 (Casteel), and Buick Resource Recycling, and will spend an estimated $5.8 million on stream mitigation activities along 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek, an impaired waterway near Doe Run’s Fletcher mine and mill facility.

The company will also spend $2 million on community mitigation projects over the next four years. At least $1.1 million of this amount will be spent on diesel engine retrofits, school science lab clean outs, school energy efficiency projects, and installations of heat pumps. Other projects, such as the purchase of sulfur dioxide allowances, wastewater infrastructure projects for the City of Herculaneum, or the development and improvement of environmental management systems at Doe Run’s facilities may also be included.

In addition to the consent decree, EPA is issuing for public comment a new administrative order that requires Doe Run to sample residential properties within 1.5 miles of the Herculaneum smelter and clean up all residential properties with lead soil concentrations of 400 parts per million or higher within that zone. The order requires Doe Run to conduct a final round of soil sampling and residential property cleanups in Herculaneum after the smelter is shut down.

EPA is also issuing for public comment a modified May 2007 administrative order addressing issues related to the transportation of lead-bearing materials between Doe Run facilities. The modified order requires Doe Run to spend an estimated $3.2 million to improve the washing and inspection of its trucks, conduct additional sampling of soil from residential properties along the haul routes, provide independent auditing of its washing and inspection activities, and conduct a study to assess and improve its transportation and handling operations.

The civil judicial consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a court before it becomes final. Each of the two administrative orders are subject to similar but separate 30-day public comment periods before they become final.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth