As permitted, Rockwool will be a major source of at least nine different categories of air pollution that deteriorate air quality and harm human health. The plant’s huge industrial furnaces and large-scale use of hazardous chemicals create a pollution footprint that is far different from traditional manufacturing.
Rockwool's plans would make it West Virginia’s second largest emitter of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)-- that’s #2 out of all significant polluting sites across the state, based on their permit PTE and 2014 EPA NEI data (the latest year available).
The VOC payload includes 6 different known or suspected cancer-causing chemicals: Acetaldehyde, Formaldehyde, Biphenyl, 1,3-Butadiene, Naphthalene, and Benzene.
One of Rockwool’s permitted VOCs, Formaldehyde, is a neurotoxin that damages memory, concentration, behavior, and physical dexterity in children.
Hazardous Fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) is pollution that is inhaled and penetrates deep into the lungs. As permitted, Rockwool will rank #10 out of several hundred polluting sites in West Virginia for PM 2.5 emissions, based on 2014 EPA NEI data.
It will be a major source of ozone (O3) pollution, implicated as a primary cause of asthma in children.
A 463,000 square foot mega-factory running 24/7 is going to generate a lot of light and noise (and possibly odors). These impacts can be very serious for people living near the plant. There’s nothing else close to this size and intensity in Jefferson County, and it will impact local quality of life and potentially even nighttime skies across the county.
Contamination of rivers can often come from airborne pollution. Given the rivers' importance to local drinking supplies, Rockwool’s nitrogen and hazardous pollution impact needs to be evaluated. There are also major concerns about the topography on which Rockwool is planning to build. The karst topography of Jefferson County is prone to sinkholes and extremely susceptible to groundwater contamination. Given the Potomac and Shenandoah River’s importance to local drinking supplies and outdoor recreation, the impact of the hazardous pollutants being emitted from Rockwool, as well as the the potential for groundwater contamination, need to be more thoroughly assessed.
We are now a non-partisan, non-profit organization called Jefferson County Vision that is working to protect and improve the quality of life in our community.