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EMPORIA, Va. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Valley Proteins, Inc. has agreed to pay a $24,900 penalty for failing to report storage of hazardous chemicals at its Emporia, Va. meat processing plant. This agreement settles a September 1998 EPA complaint against the company.
Failing to report the storage of hazardous chemicals is a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act which protects the public and environment from accidental spills, fires and explosions. The law requires companies that store over a threshold quantity of hazardous chemicals to file "material safety data sheets" (MSDS) -- or list of chemicals requiring MSDSs -- with the state and local emergency response agency and the local fire department. The MSDS describes the health risks associated with the chemical and safety precautions for handling or accidental exposure. The act also requires companies to annually update state and local emergency response agencies and the local fire department on the hazardous chemicals present at the facility.
Valley Proteins renders slaughterhouse and other meat processing byproducts to produce protein meal and fat for use as poultry and hog feed. According to EPA, Valley Protein failed to submit required reports for its storage of approximately 29,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil, 2,630 gallons of low sulfur diesel fuel, 5,120 gallons of sodium chlorite, 1,875 gallons of aluminum chloride, and 60 gallons of chlorine. These violations occurred in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
EPA originally proposed a $41,500 penalty for these violations. The reduced settlement penalty reflects the company’s cooperation with EPA and prompt correction of the alleged violations. (Note: the complaint involved alleged reporting violations and not unlawful releases of these chemicals.)