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Firms fined for ammonia violations

US EPAUSA: Three Washington companies have signed settlements for violations of federal chemical storage laws for failing to properly report storage of significant amounts of ammonia.

Under the USA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, facilities that store quantities of certain hazardous chemicals are required to submit an inventory of each of the chemicals to the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local fire department. The emergency services rely on this information for their safety and to help protect nearby residents during an emergency, such as a fire or an earthquake.

Foster Poultry Farms, Shining Ocean Inc and Wilcox Farms Inc are all said to have taken steps to prevent future violations and agreed to pay fines totalling nearly $150,000

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Foster Poultry Farms, a California-based company with a facility in Kelso, Washington, failed to meet the federal deadline for reporting its storage of significant quantities of chemicals stored at its facility in 2013. The company stored over 500lb (227kg) of ammonia for use in its refrigeration system, 500lb of sulphuric acid and over 10,000lb (4,536kg) each of carbon dioxide, sodium hydroxide solution, ferric chloride solution, lead and nitrogen at its Kelso facility.

The company has submitted the required reports and agreed to pay a fine of $112,500.

Shining Ocean, a Sumner, Washington, wholesale seafood distributor, was said to have failed to meet reporting deadlines from 2009-2013. It also stored over 500lb (227kg) of ammonia for use in its refrigeration system, in addition to over 500lb of sulphuric acid.

Shining Ocean agreed to pay a fine of $16,575, as well as agreeing to spend $87,500 to enhance its ammonia monitoring system. The enhancements include adding ammonia sensors to the facility to improve detection of releases, installing cameras to observe the ammonia system remotely, adding ammonia release alarms, and upgrading the system’s software to allow monitoring from mobile devices.

Wilcox Farms, a Roy, Washington, company, agreed to pay a fine of $15,625 for failing to meet reporting deadlines in 2013. The company had stored 8,800lbs (3,992kg) of ammonia for its refrigeration system in addition to large reportable quantities of sulphuric acid, propane and diesel fuel.

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