DEQ Issues Largest Fine Ever

Photo: Ford, Brad

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued the largest fine in agency history, a $2.1 million penalty to the Herbert Malarkey Roofing Co. in north Portland for air quality violations spanning 10 years. Since confirming emissions were beyond what its permit allowed in 2019, Malarkey installed pollution controls in July 2020 that are now controlling the facility’s emissions.

In 2009, Malarkey modified one of its emissions units, but did not notify DEQ. In 2018, Malarkey notified DEQ that its formaldehyde emissions may be higher than previously thought, and confirmed the elevated emissions through source testing in 2019. DEQ has determined Malarkey is in violation of environmental law for operating for 10 years without a required Title V air quality permit and without proper pollution control equipment.

“As soon as DEQ became aware of the modification, we followed up to confirm the emission levels and get pollution controls installed,” said Matt Hoffman, DEQ Northwest Region Air Quality Manager. “Subsequent source testing has shown us that those pollution controls are at least 96% effective at controlling emissions, so emission levels are even lower than they were before the modification in 2009.”

Failing to adequately control emissions can impact the health of the surrounding community. In particular, Malarkey’s uncontrolled emissions included formaldehyde, which is a suspected carcinogen. In large amounts, formaldehyde can cause other serious health effects such as burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat as well as nausea and skin irritation. Now that pollution controls are installed, the risk to public health is low.

DEQ has reached out to the Kenton Neighborhood Association and will be providing more information about this enforcement at their November meeting.

Malarkey has the option to appeal the order within 20 calendar days of receiving the notice. The order becomes final either after the 20 days or once the appeal has been resolved via settlement or an administrative hearing.

Source: Oregon DEQ

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