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EPA penalizes Four Northwest Facilities for Risk Management violations

Release Date: 06/29/2006
Contact Information: Kelly Huynh, (206) 553-1679, huynh.kelly@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Pacific Northwest, WA, ID, - June 29, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued three penalties to four facilities in Washington and Idaho for federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Program violations. The penalties, ranging from $800 and $7,275, were levied against facilities that handle toxic and flammable 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) for all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store or otherwise handle flammable gases and toxic chemicals such as chlorine, propane, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde. Facility’s RMPs are used by local emergency planners and responders to protect the public from accidental releases of flammable gases and/or toxic chemicals.

“RMPs are required to be fully updated and resubmitted a minimum of every five years,” said Kelly Huynh, EPA’s RMP Coordinator Region 10 in Seattle. “The Plans are essentially checklists indicating that a program has been developed. The quality of the program is compared against the program regulations during an inspection.”

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 469 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

The following facilities entered into settlement agreements with EPA between February and April of 2006, and have corrected their violations:

  • The City of Spokane Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, $7,275 penalty for an inadequate Risk Management Program, located in Spokane, WA
  • Soda Springs Elevator Inc. for their Government Dam and Hopper Avenue facilities, $800 penalty for refiling their Risk Management Plans late, located in Soda Springs, ID
  • BHS Marketing, $1,200 penalty for refiling their Risk Management Plan late, located in Nampa, ID
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:
www.epa.gov/r10earth/112r.html.

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