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Chemical spill reporting violations: EPA settles Indiana, Michigan and Ohio cases

Release Date: 06/26/2007
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA108

CHICAGO (June 26, 2007) -U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations in Rensselaer, Ind., Remus, Mich., and Mark Center, Ohio.

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're dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living and working in the area.

AgroKey LLC, 832 N. 900 W., Rensselaer, Ind., paid $37,623 to resolve EPA's enforcement action for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC of a 4,220-pound release of anhydrous ammonia May 9, 2005. A required follow-up report was also filed late, eight days after the incident, and only included four of the ten required elements. The release was caused by an attempted theft from a 1,000 gallon transport wagon. AgroKey voluntarily purchased and installed 459 valve locks on all the tanks at all of its facilities.

Leprino Foods Co., 311 N. Sheridan Road, Remus, Mich., paid $29,250 to resolve EPA's enforcement action for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and the Michigan Emergency Response Commission of a 1,308-pound release of anhydrous ammonia June 16, 2006. The release, from a pressure relief valve on the refrigeration system, was reported four days after the release.

Hicksville Grain Co., 9585 Main St., Mark Center, Ohio, will complete a $26,407 environmental project to resolve EPA's enforcement action for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and state and local emergency response commissions of a release of 4,771 pounds of anhydrous ammonia March 16, 2005. The release, reported five hours after the release was caused by an attempted theft from a tank. Follow-up reports were also late.

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