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EPA fines Arizona fertilizer supply companies $14,910

Release Date: 8/26/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined four Arizona fertilizer companies a total of $14,910 for failing to develop and implement procedures aimed at safeguarding the community from chemicals stored at their facilities.

Fertizona-Yuma, Fertizona-Coolidge, Fertizona-San Tan, and Fertizona-Casa Grande stored anhydrous ammonia -- an extremely hazardous chemical -- in quantities over 10,000 pounds. The facilities failed to ensure that all elements of their risk management program, as required under the Clean Air Act, had been prepared and implemented.

"These facilities manage a hazardous chemical that pose a real threat to human health," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Companies have a responsibility to the surrounding community and emergency responders to manage these chemicals properly. "

The EPA discovered the violations through routine surveillance of facilities in the area and in coordination with the Arizona State Emergency Response Commission.

Anhydrous ammonia is classified by the Clean Air Act and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration as a hazardous chemical, and can cause severe burns from freezing and corrosion. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia may cause eye damage and ulceration on contact with lungs and skin.

A federal risk management program requires companies to prepare and implement written procedures to ensure that the risk posed by a chemical used, stored or produced at the facility are managed safely where quantities exceed a certain amount and there is a risk of off-site impact from a release.

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