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Unicold agrees $200k fine for ammonia breaches

USA: Cold storage and distribution company Unicold has agreed to pay a $210,564 fine and implement changes to reduce the risk of ammonia accidents at its facility in Honolulu.

In March 2019, inspectors from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that Unicold’s industrial refrigeration system violated the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan regulations by failing to safely manage large quantities of anhydrous ammonia.

The inspection revealed that the ammonia refrigeration system was not designed to meet current safety standards. In addition, the facility’s written management system – developed to carry out the risk management plan – was deficient as components were either out of date or not being implemented. 

The deficiencies identified included failure to label and protect ammonia pipes and equipment from potential forklift strikes and a failure to adequately maintain ammonia piping and equipment from ice build-up and corrosion. 

“Ensuring facilities reduce the risk of releases of toxic substances like anhydrous ammonia is critical,” said EPA Pacific Southwest regional administrator John Busterud. “We’re pleased that Unicold will work to make Hawaii’s largest refrigeration facility safer as a result of this settlement.”

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