Israeli Resins Factory Faces Closure After Losing Hazmat Permit

State’s decision on Carmel Resins follows leak of hazardous materials that went unreported and made area residents sick.

Zafrir Rinat

The Carmel Resins factory in Atlit is in danger of being closed, after a series of problems that included an unreported leak of hazardous materials cost it its license to use such materials.

The Environmental Protection Ministry informed the company on Tuesday that its hazmat permit had been revoked. Unless company executives can persuade the ministry to rescind the decision, the plant will have to close.

A ministry official termed the factory, which makes resins and adhesives, “a real and ongoing danger to the environment and the public’s health and safety.”

The ministry’s decision was spurred by a leak of hazardous materials two weeks ago that caused a horrible stench in Atlit. Ministry investigators later discovered that the company never reported the leak, tried to deal with it without proper protective equipment and even held up emergency crews seeking to enter the premises.

Earlier this week, Shlomo Katz, the head of the ministry’s northern division, held a hearing for the company’s owner, Gil Dankner. Ministry inspectors then toured the factory to see if the problems had been corrected and discovered that they had not: Hazardous materials were still being stored contrary to regulations, creating a fire hazard; employees still had not received proper training in emergency procedures and there still was still a shortage of emergency equipment.

After this inspection, Katz sent a letter to the company saying he was revoking the site’s hazmat permit because the company’s conduct constituted “a real and ongoing danger to the environment and the public’s health and safety.”

Carmel Resins is one of several factories in the Dor Chemicals group operating in Atlit. The others are not affected by the decision. But residents of the coastal town, south of Haifa, would like the entire complex to be closed. They say all of its plants endanger them.

Carmel Resins said in a statement that it “attributes great importance to the quality of the environment and has invested millions of shekels in this issue in recent years.” Moreover, after the leak occurred, it “took immediate action” to solve the problem. It termed the ministry’s decision to cancel its license “surprising in light of our progress in implementing an organizational plan approved by Environmental Protection Ministry representatives just recently.”