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Jack Frost Fruit Company Agrees to spend over $100,000 to settle EPA Risk Management Program Violations

Release Date: 02/03/2009
Contact Information: Javier Morales, EPA RMP Coordinator, (206) 533-1255, morales.javier@epa.gov or Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

Company agrees to spend over $85,000 for safety improvements at its Yakima facility & purchase new communications & rescue equipment for local fire departments.

(Seattle, Wash. – February 3, 2009) The Jack Frost Fruit Company, of Yakima, Washington, has agreed to pay $20,554 for alleged violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program requirements. EPA found the company lacked a prevention program to protect the public and the environment from an off-site release of anhydrous ammonia.

According to Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, the Risk Management Program is designed to protect public health and the environment from accidental releases of harmful chemicals.

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

As part of the settlement, Jack Frost has corrected all alleged violations, and agreed to spend at least $85,000 to implement two Supplemental Environmental Projects within the next twelve months. The Projects involve taking steps at its facility to reduce the risk of release of anhydrous ammonia from its pipes and providing communications and rescue equipment to local area fire departments to improve the departments’ capabilities in responding to hazardous material emergencies in a safe and effective environment.

The Company uses more than 10,000 lbs of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration at its cold storage warehouse in Yakima, Washington. .Under the law, any facility that uses, stores, manufactures, or handles more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia is required to prepare and submit a Risk Management Plan to EPA.

Anhydrous ammonia is one of the most potentially dangerous chemicals used in refrigeration and agriculture today. Few problems occur when the ammonia is being handled properly; but most accidents with anhydrous ammonia are due to uncontrolled or accidental releases.

Specific items required by the Risk Management Program include: development of an emergency response or action plan; hazard evaluation of a “worst case and more probable case” chemical release; operator training; review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances; and operating procedures and equipment maintenance.

To learn more about EPA’s work to protect communities from toxic chemicals through the Risk Management Program go to:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/CLEANUP.NSF/sites/rmp

For more about toxic effects of anhydrous ammonia (NIOSH GUIDE): http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0028.html

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