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Food producer settles $186k ammonia violation penalty

USA: Food producer BC Systems/Fresh Express has made a $186,975 settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating chemical accident prevention requirements with its ammonia refrigeration system.

The civil penalty resolves violations of the federal Clean Air Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Specifically, this involved the violation of chemical accident prevention requirements at the company’s storage and distribution facilities in Yuma, Arizona, and Salinas, California. 

Several violations were found during EPA inspections in 2017 and 2018. These inspections were carried out as part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases at facilities, such as anhydrous ammonia refrigeration facilities.

The violations under the Clean Air Act included failing to safely manage anhydrous ammonia, and failing to risk management programme requirements. By failing to accurately submit ammonia inventory information to the States of Arizona and California and local emergency response agencies, the company violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

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