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St. Maries, Idaho Agrees to spend over $122,000 to settle EPA Risk Management Program Violations

Release Date: 01/11/2010
Contact Information: Javier Morales, EPA RMP Coordinator, (206) 533-1255, morales.javier@epa.gov, Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

City of St. Maries agrees to spend an estimated $113,000 to improve its wastewater treatment plant.

(Seattle, Wash. – Jan. 11 2010) The City of St. Maries, Idaho has agreed to pay $9,220 penalty and spend an estimated $113,550 to settle a case for violations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s policies on emergency prevention requirements.

The settlement came after EPA found that the city lacked an emergency prevention program to protect the public and the environment from an off-site release of chlorine at its wastewater treatment plant.

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

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

As part of the settlement, the city will spend an estimated $113,550 to implement the following Supplemental Environmental Projects. St. Maries will purchase and install the following:

  • Treated wastewater flow monitoring system;
  • Chlorine analyzer and flow proportional chlorinator;
  • Chlorine scale monitoring system; and
  • Enhanced leak detection and notification system.

The projects are expected to reduce annual chlorine usage by 270 lbs, which will allow the city to reduce its chlorine consumption to approximately 1,930 lbs per year. The city must stay below its chlorine threshold on-site limit of 2,100 lbs. Installation of the new systems should be completed by July 2011.

St. Marie’s wastewater treatment facility utilized more than 2,500 pounds of chlorine from May 2004 to February 2007, which puts them in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The violations have since been corrected.

Chlorine is listed as a hazardous air pollutant under Section 112(b) (1) of the CAA. Exposure to chlorine may result in chemical-type burns to skin, eyes, and lungs.

Requirements of 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 chlorine (NIOSH GUIDE):
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0115.html

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