USA: Safeway, America’s second largest supermarket chain, has agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty for failures in repairing R22 refrigerant leaks and not keeping adequate service records.

In addition, the supermarket group has also agreed to implement a $4.1m plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores in the settlement agreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice.

Safeway will also reduce its corporate-wide average leak rate from 25% in 2012 to 18% or below in 2015. The company will also reduce the aggregate refrigerant emissions at its highest-emission stores by 10% each year for three years.

EPA regulations issued under Title VI of the Clean Air Act require that owner or operators of commercial refrigeration equipment that contains over 50lb of ozone-depleting refrigerants, and that has an annual leak rate greater than 35% repair such leaks within 30 days.