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Seven Eastern Washington Facilities Face EPA Penalties for Risk Management Program Violations

Release Date: 02/05/2007
Contact Information: Kelly Huynh, (206) 553-1679, huynh.kelly@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle, Wash. - Feb. 5, 2007) Six food-processing and storage facilities and one wastewater treatment facility in Eastern Washington have been issued EPA penalties for federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Program violations. The penalties, ranging from $2,208 to $7,488, were levied against facilities that utilize toxic chemicals.

The penalties were assessed under Section 112(r) of the federal Clean Air Act. This section requires the development of Risk Management Plans (RMPs) and programs for all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store or otherwise handle flammable and toxic chemicals such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide and anhydrous ammonia. Facility’s Risk Management Programs are important to local emergency planners and responders to protect the public from accidental releases of flammable gases and/or toxic chemicals.

The following facilities entered into settlement agreements with EPA between October, 2006 and January, 2007 and have corrected their violations:

  • Zirkle Fruit Co. Prosser, $3,690 penalty, located in Prosser, WA.
  • Inland-Joseph Fruit Co. $7,488 penalty, located in Wapato, WA.
  • Twin City Foods, Inc., $4,356 penalty, located in Prosser, WA.
  • Valley Fruit III, LLC, $2,208 penalty, located in Wapato, WA.
  • Welch’s Foods, Inc., $6,544 penalty, located in Grandview, WA.
  • Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage, $4,455 penalty, located in Wapato, WA.
  • City of Yakima, $4,575 penalty, located in Yakima, WA.

According to EPA officials, in six out of seven cases, potential release concerns weren’t addressed by the facility in an appropriate manner.

“We’re trying to prevent chemical releases to protect workers and the surrounding community.” said Kelly Huynh, EPA’s RMP Coordinator Region 10 in Seattle. “Prevention and advance planning is the ‘heart’ of our risk management program. Facilities need to take risk management planning very seriously. Like fire prevention, it could be a matter of life or death.”

The Risk Management Program requires an emergency response strategy, evaluation of a worst case and probable case chemical release, and a prevention program that includes operator training, a review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances, operating procedures and equipment maintenance.

There are 470 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska that need to meet the RMP and program requirements.

Some examples of covered facilities include:

1) Wastewater/Water Treatment Plants
2) Cold Storage Facilities
3) Refineries
4) Chemical distributors

All of these penalties were conducted under EPA’s Expedited Settlement Agreement process. The EPA has the option to use the Expedited Settlement Agreement process for easily correctable violations.

To find out more about the Risk Management Program go to Region 10’s site at:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/CLEANUP.NSF/sites/rmp

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