USA: An ice producer in New Bedford, Massachusetts, has agreed a $170,000 settlement with the US EPA for breaches of safety regulations in the use of its ammonia refrigeration system.
The Crystal Ice Co, a primary supplier of ice for the fishing industry in and around New Bedford, experienced an ammonia release in April 2018.
The release from the company’s refrigeration system, which contains 22,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, triggered an EPA inspection. This led to the discovery of multiple violations of the US Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan regulations. The regulations are designed to prevent accidental releases of substances that can cause serious harm to the public and the environment from short-term exposures and to mitigate the severity of any releases that do occur.
Some of the alleged violations included the failure to comply with requirements to compile written process safety information and comply with what the EPA described as “recognised and generally accepted good engineering practices”, failure to fully comply with process hazard analysis requirements and failure to adequately train employees which help ensure that workers and emergency responders have the information they need to safely respond to an accidental release.