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Two Washington State Fruit Companies Violate Federal Air Regulations

Release Date: 10/02/2012
Contact Information: Javier Morales, EPA RMP Coordinator, (206) 553-1255, morales.javier@epa.gov; Cyndi Grafe, EPA Public Affairs, (208) 378-5771, grafe.cyndi@epa.gov

(Seattle, Washington—October 2, 2012) Two eastern Washington fruit companies failed to meet risk management plan requirements under the federal Clean Air Act, according to separate settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As part of the settlements, Dovex Fruit Company and Clasen Family Company will pay fines and submit missing reports to manage ammonia use.

According to Wally Moon, EPA’s Pacific Northwest Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Unit Manager, having a solid prevention program can help stop things going from "bad" to "worse" if a workplace accident causes a chemical release.

“We can't take chances with public health," said EPA’s Moon. “Preventing an accidental release of dangerous chemicals like ammonia protects the lives of workers, responders and nearby residents."

Under the Clean Air Act, facilities that handle large amounts of chemicals are required to develop a risk management program, which assesses the hazards associated with dangerous chemicals. The program must include an accident prevention program and an emergency response plan to deal with accidental releases.

Both companies use more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, one of the most potentially dangerous chemicals used in refrigeration and agriculture today. Ammonia is a colorless gas that can cause severe burns to skin, eyes, throat, and lungs, and with high enough exposure, death.

Dovex Fruit Company


Dovex Fruit Company (Dovex), a fresh fruit and vegetable processor with a facility located in Wenatchee, Washington, will pay a fine of $134,613 for failing to meet risk management requirements for equipment maintenance since August 2008. Dovex has corrected the violations. In 2008, Dovex was fined $98,241 for failing to submit their risk management plan since 2003.

Clasen Family Company


The Clasen Family Company (Clasen), a cold fruit storage company, failed to submit their risk management plan since 2004. The company will pay a fine of $17,030 and spend at least $58,800 implementing a supplemental environmental project. The project includes installing equipment that reduces the risk of ammonia releases and improves emergency response in case of an accidental release at their Union Gap and Yakima, Washington facilities.

For more information on the Risk Management Program, visit:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/airpage.nsf/enforcement/rmp