VICTORIA, Texas - Update 3/27/2019 6 p.m.:
Formosa’s most recent attempt at controlling the pellet discharge issue was meeting with industry neighbors, like DOW chemicals out of Seadrift to exchange plans on this issue.
Formosa claims to have added 11 full time employees dedicated to housekeeping management for a cleaner facility, one that creates about 300 billion pellets a day.
The final plaintiff witness Dr. Aiza Lopez testified that their improvements such as newly added mesh screens to catch pellets is faulty as it is only a temporary fix and soon these will plug continuing what she referred to as a systematic issue of pellet dumping.
Plaintiffs question if recently installed mesh screens can adequately catch the plastic pellets from leaving the facility as the mesh can easily become clogged due to the small size of the pellets. Making the efficiency of the mesh screens questionable according to Dr. Lopez.
There are still two more days left of this trial, judge Hoyt expects final witnesses early tomorrow and to begin the rebuttal.
Original story 3/27/2019 11 a.m.:
The Formosa trial continues Wednesday morning as defendants bring their witnesses to speak on the various steps taken to prevent pellet discharge.
The defense called two expert witnesses to the stand to go into depth about the scientific composition of the plastic pellets and a program Formosa has in place to prevent the pellets from escaping their plant.
The first witness is a scientist who explain the composition of the plastic pellets in great detail. The major take- away being that there is not a standard to measure how old a plastic pellet is, and subsequently how long it has been discharged from their plant.
The plaintiffs, San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers, make the argument that green pellets are older than the white ones found in and around Texas waterways. Suggesting white pellets were freshly dumped into the environment, while pellets darker in color have been around longer.
However, the scientist counters this argument saying there are too many factors, regardless of color, to definitively say that one pellet is older than another.
The second witness, John P. Hyak (spelling of name is not confirmed) has worked as a Chemical Engineer in the Utility Department for 16 years. His line of questioning revealed a program that Formosa has in place currently to prevent pellets from being released into the environment.
Mr.Hyak explained that Formosa has multiple layers of defense to prevent pellets from leaving the plant. Between 2016 and 2017 a new program was developed called “Total Housekeeping Management” which saw the hire of 11 full time employees dedicated to cleaning visible pellets and powder throughout the plant.
They were hired specifically to ensure any potential discharge from the plastics plant is better contained.
This testimony sings a different tune compared to what a former Formosa employee testified during the trial on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Rousser worked as a supervisor at Formosa for more than a decade and once he took the stand he shared what he was told once he became part of upper management. He was told, “You’ll learn and do things for Formosa that will make it a profitable company, and you cannot discuss those things.”
However, his motives were questioned by the defense as Mr. Rousser was fired for bad conduct while on the job.
We will update you as the trial continues Wednesday afternoon.
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