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Carbon company cited by DEQ

PONCA CITY, Okla. (AP) _ A company that manufactures carbon black, a substance used in tires, is violating state environmental rules, state officials claim.

Continental Carbon Company, just south of Ponca City, received two notices of violation from the Department of Environmental Quality this month. The violations relate to pollution of the water supply and creating industrial waste water, said department spokesman Michael Dean.

Company officials have declined to comment on the notices of violation.

The water supply in Ponca City has not been affected, Dean said.

An environmental inspection Jan. 16 showed the company is in violation of public water supply statutes, as well as rules that prohibit cross-connections of water supplies. The rules require that companies disinfect wells and pipes that convey or store potable water and that they have certified water operators.

Patty Thompson, a DEQ district engineer, said a test well and two water wells at the company need to be plugged and abandoned.

The plant has a temporary plastic water line across the Arkansas River to replace a water line buried under the Arkansas River that has holes in it. The temporary line is a cross-connection to non-potable water, according to the notices of violation.

The cross connection is a potential health hazard for employees at the plant, who shower, drink and wash their hands at work.

While producing carbon black, workers are covered with fine black powder.

Waste water at the plant is stagnant in retention lagoons, according to a January report by Brandon Bowman, DEQ Environmental Complaints and Local Services. He found water in a large pond on a marshy piece of land was black.

Bowman also observed an oily sheen floating on the surface of the pond. A black substance oozed out of the ground, forming streams that flowed toward the pond, the report said.

During a mid-February inspection, officials found barrels containing possible contaminants partially buried east of the plant near the Arkansas River. Tests on the material in the barrels are not complete, Dean said.

The company has 15 days to respond to the notices of violation. The company must submit documents detailing how it will solve the problems.

The DEQ can assess fines of up to $10,000 per day, Dean said.

Continental Carbon Company opened its Ponca City plant in 1954 as a subsidiary of Continental Oil Company.

The China Synthetic Rubber Company and the Taiwan Cement Corporation, subsidiaries of the Koos Group of Taiwan, bought the company in 1995.
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