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Sorrento settles with EPA for chemical management violations at Nampa, Idaho plant

Release Date: 07/25/2013
Contact Information: Cyndi Grafe, EPA Public Affairs, (208) 378-5771, grafe.cyndi@epa.gov

(Nampa, Idaho— July 25, 2013) Sorrento Lactalis, Inc. will pay $91,352 in a settlement for violations of Clean Air Act regulations intended to prevent chemical accidents. The violations occurred at Sorrento’s cheese manufacturing facility in Nampa, Idaho.

According to the settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as far back as 2007 Sorrento did not meet risk management requirements such as properly inspecting and testing process equipment, annually certifying operating procedures, and conducting a compliance audit at least every three years. Under the Clean Air Act, facilities that handle large amounts of chemicals are required to develop a risk management program and properly operate and maintain equipment.

“We can't take chances with public health,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Seattle. “Following the risk management regulations is important to prevent chemical releases and protect both workers and the surrounding community.”

Sorrento uses more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a colorless gas commonly used in industrial refrigeration systems. Sorrento has since corrected these violations.

Most accidents with anhydrous ammonia occur from uncontrolled or accidental releases. Exposure to its vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage and irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure to anhydrous ammonia vapor at high concentrations can lead to serious lung damage and even death.

For more information on the Risk Management Program, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/airpage.nsf/enforcement/rmp