US EPAUSA: An ice cream manufacturer has agreed to pay $55,000 in penalties and upgrade and make safety improvements to its ammonia refrigeration equipment.

In a settlement announced today by the US EPA, the Oregon Ice Cream Company will pay $55,000 in penalties for multiple violations of federal safety rules and risk management programme requirements designed to prevent chemical emergencies. It has also agreed to make safety improvements and upgrade its refrigeration equipment to prevent ammonia releases at its manufacturing facility in Eugene, Oregon.

In 2011, EPA inspectors found that the Oregon Ice Cream facility was without an adequate risk management plan or proper safety equipment including leak detection and ventilation on its refrigeration system. At the time the system was reported to contain over 10,000lb (4,536kg) of ammonia. The company’s failure to meet industry safety standards for safe operation and maintenance of its ammonia refrigeration equipment and its failure to install a leak detection system or emergency ventilation were violations of the federal Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan rules, says the EPA.

To correct the violations, the company has upgraded its refrigeration equipment to meet industry safety standards, installed leak detection systems, upgraded its emergency relieve valve system, installed a proper ventilation system, and improved overall safety and maintenance procedures to better prevent, detect and safely respond to an accidental ammonia leak.