Contact Us

Newsroom

2006 News Releases

 

Hazardous Chemical Release Roundup: EPA cites Detroit Edison for reporting violations, settles cases in Indiana, Minnesota

Release Date: 12/13/2006
Contact Information: Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 06-OPA232

CHICAGO (Dec. 13, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Detroit Edison's River Rouge facility for late notification of a hazardous chemical release. A $144,412 penalty is proposed. In other actions, EPA recently settled chemical release reporting cases with BP Products North America, Whiting, Ind.; Colors Inc., Indianapolis; and Crystal Valley Cooperative, Lake Crystal, Minn.

In the Detroit Edison case, EPA alleges that the facility at 1 Belanger Park Drive failed to immediately notify the National Response Center of a 10,559-pound release of sodium hydroxide on May 6, 2003. The company neglected to contact the NRC, the Michigan emergency response commission and local emergency planning committee, until more than 20 hours after it knew of the release. A required written follow-up report to the Michigan emergency response commission was also filed late, 10 days after the release. A follow-up report to the local emergency planning committee was never filed. The incident occurred when a maintenance crew left a process valve open. The sodium hydroxide flowed through the process line and mixed with cooling water, which was then released from the facility, potentially affecting the Detroit River and the Rouge River ecosystems.

Sodium hydroxide is commonly used in metal cleaning and processing. Exposure to it can irritate or burn the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract.

Inhaling large amounts can be fatal. Sodium hydroxide releases greater than 1,000 pounds must be reported immediately.

BP Products North America, 2815 Indianapolis Blvd., Whiting, Ind., paid $13,203 for failure to immediately notify the NRC of a 606-pound anhydrous ammonia release from the facility on Dec. 8, 2004. EPA alleged the company did not contact the NRC for more than nine hours after it knew of the release. The incident occurred when a storage tank over-pressurized.

Anhydrous ammonia causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and can be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time. Anhydrous ammonia releases greater than 100 pounds must be immediately reported.

Colors, a specialty aluminum products business at 5780 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, paid $19,214 for failure to immediately notify the NRC of a 45,906-pound sulfuric acid release on July 6, 2005. EPA alleged the company did not contact the NRC for more than eight days after it knew of the release. The incident occurred when a storage tank being filled by a tanker truck overflowed.

Sulfuric acid causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. Releases greater than 1,000 pounds must be immediately reported.

Crystal Valley Cooperative, an agricultural cooperative business at 721 W. Humphrey, Lake Crystal, Minn., paid $18,789 for failure to immediately notify the NRC of a 2,200-pound anhydrous ammonia release on April 16, 2005. The incident occurred when an ammonia tank rolled off a truck into a ditch and broke open while in transit to the facility. The only response agency notified at the time was the local fire department, which responded to the incident and helped shut off the valve.

# # #