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Del Monte settles with EPA after 2016 ammonia release

USA: The US EPA has announced a settlement with Del Monte Fresh Produce (West Coast) totalling $190,000 following an ammonia release at its storage and distribution facility located in Sanger, California.  

For violations of federal chemical safety and reporting requirements, Del Monte is to pay a $80,000 civil penalty and spend approximately $110,000 to reduce the risk of chemical accidents. 

The US EPA inspected the facility after a release of more than 24,000lb (10,900kg) of anhydrous ammonia at the facility in December 2016. During the inspection, EPA found violations of the Clean Air Act’s risk management plan regulations, including deficiencies in the plant’s hazard assessment, mechanical integrity programme, compliance audits, and emergency response programme.  EPA inspectors also found that the company failed to immediately notify the National Response Center and the California Office of Emergency Services as soon as it knew of the release, as required by law.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will also install two new pumps to reduce potential leaks and a new control system for its anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system, with automated controls and notification system.

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