In February 2016, the MoEP summoned the CEO of the ORL Group to a hearing, after Carmel Olefins submitted a report detailing a significant increase in non-point source pollution leaks from its Haifa plant in 2015. The hearing, and the consequent decision to shut down facilities until they were dealt with, were the result of the MoEP’s decision to increase supervision and enforcement, as part of its Haifa Bay Action Plan to Reduce Pollution and Environmental Risks.
During the shutdown of the facilities, the factories installed emission reduction equipment, and did a lot of maintenance work. Much of the work was to meet new, more stringent demands put in place by the MoEP, based on Best Available Techniques (BATs) and strict European Union standards. The new conditions are set out in the companies’ emissions permits, and receipt of the permits is dependent on their compliance.
As part of the updated conditions, Carmel Olefins will activate torches used to prevent uncontrolled emissions to the air by ensuring the complete combustion of the gases flowing into it. (In case of incomplete combustion, smoke emissions from torches will be limited to 5 minutes every two hours, and factories will be obligated to report any incident of black smoke, to record such incidents, and to preserve the photos for MoEP use.)
However, if future test find the factories are not meeting the MoEP’s new, stricter demands, the ministry will order the immediate disabling of their facilities. The new MoEP directives are expected to lead to a 50% reduction in emissions compared to 2015 emissions.