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Chemical spill reporting violations: EPA settles Illinois, Wisconsin cases

Release Date: 08/31/2007
Contact Information: Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA149

(Chicago - Aug. 31, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations in Chicago, Ill., and Fort Atkinson and Kansasville, Wis.

All three cases involved anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems and as fertilizer. The chemical causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time. Anhydrous ammonia releases greater than 100 pounds must be immediately reported.

Federal law requires immediate notification to the National Response Center for chemical releases above certain thresholds. The NRC activates the appropriate response authorities. Responders need to know what they are dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living and working in the area.

C.G. & S. Provision Company Inc., 159 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, paid $27,000 to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and state and local emergency response commissions of a 600-pound release of anhydrous ammonia. The release from the facility's refrigeration system was six times the reportable quantity and was reported late. Follow-up reports were also late.

Conserv FS Inc., 4304 S. Beaumont Ave., Kansasville, Wis., paid $20,956 to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and state and local emergency response commissions of a 1,055-pound release of anhydrous ammonia. The release, from a leaking valve on an ammonia tank was reported late. Follow-up reports were not submitted.

Jones Dairy Farm Inc., 808 Jones Ave., Ft. Atkinson, Wis., paid a $36,060 penalty and will perform an environmental project to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to NRC and state emergency response commissions of a 2,805-pound anhydrous ammonia release. A broken valve caused the release of 28 times the reportable quantity. Low levels of ammonia were detected in surrounding neighborhoods causing authorities to shut down state Highway 26 and require local residents to stay inside. Follow-up reports were also late.

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