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Ice cream maker settles ammonia violations

USA: An ice cream manufacturer has agreed to pay a penalty of $115,849 to settle claims that it violated federal laws regulating the handling and storage of ammonia.

An Environmental Protection Agency inspection of HP Hood facilities in Suffield, Connecticut, revealed that the company failed to document that its ammonia refrigeration equipment complied with recognised and generally applicable good engineering practices in violation of the Clean Air Act. This included issues like missing ammonia alarms, inadequate labelling of critical equipment, and failure to adhere to engineering best practices in equipment installation.

In addition, it is said that HP Hood failed to comply with the mechanical integrity requirements of the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention regulations by allegedly failing to sufficiently conduct piping inspections. Instances of damaged pipe insulation with potential safety risks and a minor anhydrous ammonia leak from a valve were documented. 

These findings highlighted the need for improved safety measures and adherence to industry standards at this facility, and at the other five HP Hood facilities with risk management plan (RMP) requirements nationwide. As result, EPA negotiated with HP Hood to pay a penalty, as well as create a schedule for conducting system safety audits at its six RMP facilities nationwide.

The penalty also includes a separate EPA assessment regarding a recent ammonia release from this company, caused by a forklift impact. 

As a result of the EPA’s action, HP Hood is said to have brought its facility in Suffield into compliance. In addition, the company must take steps to protect pipes in the machinery room from future forklift impacts.

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