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Chelsea Company Pays $46,000 For Hazardous Materials Violations

Release Date: 12/02/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Kayem Foods, Inc., which operates a food manufacturing and distribution facility in Chelsea, Mass., has agreed to pay a $46,525 penalty for allegedly filing a late and inadequate plan to prevent accidental releases of ammonia from the facility.

"This facility is in a highly populated area, where an ammonia release could have serious consequences," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Kayem, like all companies, needs to ensure that it is adequately prepared for handling this hazardous chemical."

Kayem uses anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant at the facility, which is located in a densely populated industrial, commercial and residential use area. Airborne ammonia is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes and may be fatal if inhaled. An accidental release of ammonia could threaten the surrounding area, resulting in evacuations or injuries.

The federal Clean Air Act requires that companies with large amounts of certain hazardous chemicals on site must file a risk management plan (RMP) with EPA. The threshold amount for ammonia is 10,000 pounds.

EPA's complaint alleges that Kayem did not file a management plan until April 2000, two years later than required. EPA's complaint also alleges that Kayem failed to develop and implement all the Risk Management Program elements required at the facility. Additionally Kayem violated the federal Toxic Release Inventory law by failing to file a chemical release inventory reporting form for 1999.

Kayem will pay a civil penalty of $46,525. Under the terms of the consent agreement with EPA, Kayem has 90 days to correct deficiencies in its RMP and submit the chemical release report it should have filed in 1999.