The EPA announced settlement agreements with three companies for violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (“EPCRA”) and the Risk Management Plan (“RMP”) rule under the Clean Air Act. The companies underreported the amounts and types of chemicals present at their facilities and/or failed to properly implement an RMP.
EPA inspections at two facilities in Springfield, Mass., revealed several violations at each facility. At the first facility, owned by Performance Food Group, the EPA identified unsafe conditions related to the handling of anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used as a refrigerant. Over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia was stored at the facility, triggering the need for the facility to have an RMP; however, Performance Food Group had not developed an RMP for the facility. Additionally, the facility underreported the amount of ammonia at the facility and did not report lead contained in lead acid batteries. As part of the settlement agreement, Performance Food Group was required to: (1) develop an RMP for its Springfield facility, (2) certify that it has filed RMPs for its other facilities around the country, and (3) review its procedures at these facilities to ensure they meet minimum safety standards. Performance Food Group paid nearly $185,000 in penalties.
At the second Springfield facility (a chemical production plant that uses numerous hazardous chemicals in its processes), EPA inspectors identified several deficiencies in the facility’s implementation of its RMP. In addition to correcting the deficiencies, the settlement agreement required the facility’s owner, Solutia, Inc., to pay over $15,000 in penalties and undertake a $60,000 supplemental environmental project to provide emergency response equipment for the local fire department.
In Washington State, the EPA reached an agreement with Christensen, Inc. over its failure to report information required under EPCRA. Christensen, one of the largest petroleum distributors in the Northwest, failed to report critical information related to the storage of hazardous chemicals at six of its facilities for the past several years, including on-site volumes of hazardous chemicals. Christensen will pay nearly $66,000 in fines and install high-tech, web-based monitoring systems on at least 180 underground storage tanks owned by its customers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Additionally, Christensen will provide advanced payment of the annual monitoring fee for each of these systems for the first year.