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Press Release

Cleveland Thermal to replace three coal‑fired boilers with new natural gas-fired boilers under terms of proposed consent decree

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Cleveland Thermal LLC will replace three coal‑fired boilers with new natural gas-fired boilers which will significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions under the terms of a settlement reached between the company and federal authorities, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

“This agreement will improve the air quality for those who live, work and play in Cleveland,” Dettelbach said. “It will help our collective health while bringing a local company in compliance with the law.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, acting on the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, filed a complaint and proposed consent decree.

U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman said: “This settlement will protect Cleveland residents from air pollutants that are especially harmful to children, older people and those with asthma.”

Cleveland Thermal owns and operates a facility on Canal Road that houses three coal-fired boilers that generate steam for distribution to customers in downtown Cleveland. In the complaint, the United States alleges that Cleveland Thermal undertook major modifications to two boilers, in 2005 and 2006, but failed to obtain the necessary permits and use the best available control technology for sulfur dioxide and achieve the lowest emission rate for nitrogen oxides.

According to the complaint, significant amounts of excess sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides have been and continue to be released into the air. These pollutants harm public health and the environment, contributing to premature mortality, asthma attacks, acid rain, smog and other adverse effects.

Under the proposed consent decree, Cleveland Thermal will shut down the two coal-fired boilers that are the subject of the complaint.  Cleveland Thermal also will shut down the remaining coal-fired boiler in its system as well as three fuel oil-fired boilers located at its facility on Hamilton Avenue.

Cleveland Thermal will replace the lost capacity with new natural gas-fired boilers, one of which will begin operation by the end of November.  Cleveland Thermal also will have the option to install and operate a new natural gas-fired cogeneration facility, according to the proposed consent decree.

The injunctive relief is estimated to cost $16 million and sulfur dioxide emissions are estimated to be reduced by approximately 900 tons per year.

Cleveland Thermal will pay a penalty of $75,000 and perform an Environmental Mitigation Project worth $350,000.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.  The consent decree will be available for viewing at



Updated February 4, 2016