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Acid Plant Database  September 29, 2016

Owner J.R. Simplot Company
Simplot Phosphates, LLC

Simplot-Logo.png (57817 bytes)

Background -
Location 1150 West Highway 30
Pocatello, Idaho
Website www.simplot.com
Plant Don Plant
300 Plant 400 Plant
Coordinates* - -
Type of Plant Sulphur Burning Sulphur Burning
Gas Source Elemental Sulphur Elemental Sulphur
Plant Capacity  1750 STPD -

SO2: 170 lb/h (3 h avg.), 750 ton/y, 4 lb/ton (100% H2SO4)
Acid Mist: 3 lb/h (24 h avg.), 13 ton/y, 0.15 lb/ton (100% H2SO4)
Opacity: 10% for more than 6 min. avg.

SO2: 999 lb/h (3 h avg.), 1,458 ton/y, 4 lb/ton (100% H2SO4)
Acid Mist: 12.5 lb/h (24 h avg.), 54.8 ton/y, 0.15 lb/ton (100% H2SO4)
Opacity: 10% for more than 6 min. avg.

Status Operating Operating
Year Built - -
Technology MECS Chemetics
Contractor - -
Remarks Tail Gas Ammonia Scrubber -

State of Idaho - Department of Environmental Quality
Facility ID: 077-00006
Air Quality Tier I Operating Permit

Permit No. Issue Date Expiry Date Date Modified
077-0006 December 24, 2002 December 24, 2007 -
TI-9507-114-1 April 5, 2004 December 24, 2007 -
TI-040313 December 24, 2002 December 24, 2007 November 8, 2005
General -
News September 28, 2016 - The J.R. Simplot Company in Pocatello was cited for violating air pollution control rules for "acid mist and fine particulates." EPA alleged that Simplot made modifications at its five sulfuric acid plants without applying for or obtaining necessary Clean Air Act permits and violating "best available control technology" limits for SO2, and for sulfuric acid mist and fine particles at its Pocatello plant.  In response, the company agreed to significantly cut sulfur dioxide emissions at five plants in Pocatello,Idaho, Lathrop, California and Rock Springs,Wyoming and pay an $899,000 civil penalty.  Simplot will spend an estimated $41.5 million to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at all five plants. That will reduce SO2 emissions by more than 50 percent. It will reduce emissions at Simplot's Pocatello plant by approximately 825 tons per year.  The settlement was announced late last year and approved in April 2016.  The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality was a party to the settlement and will receive $167,000 of the penalty.

December 3, 2015
- An agreement to make modifications at five sulfuric acid plants, including the Don Plant in Pocatello, and pay a civil penalty of $899,000 has resolved a Clean Air Act violations issue between the J.R. Simplot Co., U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.According to a news release from the Region 10 EPA office, J.R. Simplot has agreed to spend approximately $41.5 million on pollution controls to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at plants in Pocatello, Lathrop, Calif., and Rock Springs, Wyo.  The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will receive $167,000 of the total civil penalty Simplot has been ordered to pay.  “Today’s settlement is good news for Idaho residents and will result in significant reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions from Simplot’s Pocatello plant,” said Dennis McLerran, EPA regional administrator in Seattle. “Idahoans will breathe cleaner air thanks to the pollution control improvements Simplot has made and will be making under this settlement.”  Once fully implemented, the settlement will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from Simplot’s five sulfuric acid plants by more than 50 percent for approximately 2,540 tons per year of total reductions. Upgrades at Simplot’s Pocatello plant will reduce those emissions by approximately 825 tons per year. Simplot will also implement a plan to monitor sulfur dioxide emissions continuously at all five plants.“This settlement helps address public health risks for local communities in California, Idaho and Wyoming, and furthers EPA’s commitment to reduce harmful air pollution from the largest sources,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The system-wide pollution controls Simplot will install will significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, which can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate asthma.”  EPA and DOJ alleged that Simplot made modifications at its five sulfuric acid plants without applying for or obtaining the necessary Clean Air Act permits and “best available control technology” limits for sulfur dioxide, and for sulfuric acid mist and fine particles at its sulfuric acid plant in Pocatello.  Short-term exposures to sulfur dioxide can lead to serious respiratory problems, including constriction of airways in the lungs and increased asthma symptoms. It is also a precursor to the formation of fine particulates, which causes a wide variety of health and environmental impacts, including asthma attacks, reduced lung function, and aggravation of existing heart disease.  This settlement is part of EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control harmful emissions from large sources of pollution, which includes acid plants, under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. This will be EPA’s 13th acid settlement under the initiative and the ninth sulfuric acid settlement. The emission rates secured in this settlement will result in the best-controlled, system-wide emissions achieved in any sulfuric acid plant settlement to-date.  The consent decree formalizing the settlement was lodged with the U.S. District Court in the District of Idaho and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. http://www.idahostatejournal.com/
The proposed consent decree can be viewed at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

February 9, 2009 - The Environmental Protection Agency has filed a notice of violaton against the J.R. Simplot Company.  Specifically the Don Plant in Pocatello and some of those violations according to a notice by the EPA date back almost twenty years...  Think of it like this...EPA enforcement rules state the government can fine a company by the day. In this case, Simplot may be forced to pay millions in fines since the violations began in 1991.  According to the notice of violaton, the EPA alleges that the J.R. Simplot plant failed to acquire the necessary permits before making modifications to the 300 and 400 plants in Pocatello. On page eight of the violations, the EPA alleges the plant modifications to the #400 sulfuric acid plant began back in 1991. On page ten, it alleges that modifications to the #300 sulfuric acid plant began in 1996.  At the #400 plant, modifications included a net increase of approximately 364 tons per year of sulfer dioxide..enough to require Simplot to apply for and obtain a permit. That amount of sulfer dioxide is considered a major modification.  Simplot at the time said the modifications they made to the plant were intended to restore plant integrity for long term dependability.  At the #300 plant, modifications in 1996 boosted sulfer dioxide emissions by 430 tons per year...again, enough to require the plant to apply and obtain a permit which the EPA says they did not do.  Simplot says they made modifications to the plant for the purpose of increasing production capacity...and to increase steam generation by 17 percent.  Then, in 2001 - the EPA alleges that Simplot replaced a bunch of aging equipment which ultimately resulted in an increase of sulfer dioxide by 85 tons per year. That too is considered a significant increase and according to the EPA Simplot did not apply for a permit.  If the EPA seeks a full restitution...the law specifies Simplot may be ordered to pay $25,000 dollars a day since the violations began. If you take into account the first violations to the #400 plant...they could be ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.  Simplot told me today, they aren't prepared to respond to the notice by the EPA because they just received the complaint. But Rick Phillips says the EPA has a national inititive right now focusing on plants that make sulfuric acid.  He says Simplot feels they are being singled out and have significantly reduced SO2 or sulfer dioxide emissions significantly over the past twenty years.

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