The Rockwool factory in Ranson. A water retention pond is visible in the foreground.
ROCKWOOL and the non-profit organization Jefferson County Foundation, Inc. released a joint statement on February 24 to announce that they have resolved two legal challenges that had been pending before the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board (EQB) concerning the stormwater permitting at ROCKWOOL’s stone wool manufacturing facility in Ranson. As part of the resolution of these legal challenges, ROCKWOOL has voluntarily committed to additional studies, inspections, and drainage improvements that will further strengthen stormwater handling and control at the facility.
Dr. Christine Wimer, President of the Jefferson County Foundation, remarked in the statement that “the Foundation and co-appellants appealed ROCKWOOL’s stormwater permits because we were concerned that the DEP’s permitting process and ROCKWOOL’s resulting permits were not adequately protective of the waters of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and surrounding region. After several years of litigation, and with the changes ROCKWOOL has voluntarily agreed to make to its stormwater handling system, we feel the water protections are significantly improved. We would like to thank ROCKWOOL for respecting our concerns and working with us to resolve these matters.”
Paul Espinosa, public affairs manager for ROCKWOOL, remarked in the statement that “At ROCKWOOL, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and upgrade our facilities as part of our deep-rooted commitment to environmental protection. We greatly appreciate how the Foundation worked with us in improving what was already a state-of-the-art stormwater handling system at our Ranson facility. For more than 80 years, ROCKWOOL has partnered with the communities in which we operate, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the Foundation in the future.”
In the agreement, ROCKWOOL committed to:
- Complete improvements to control stormwater flow around the factory within one year
- Hire a qualified engineer with experience on projects in karst terrain to survey and report on drainage patterns and submit the findings of this engineering report to the WV Department of Environmental Protection
- Perform annual leak location inspections at its membrane-lined water retention ponds
- Perform annual camera inspections of the piping network that carries stormwater to an on-site pond
- Develop a contingency plan for controlling stormwater overflow
- Make other technical improvements around the facility to minimize the risks from stormwater runoff that might be contaminated
The Foundation’s website is JeffersonCountyFoundation.org.
ROCKWOOL’s website is Rockwool.com.Staff Contributor