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Waffle company fined $85,000 for ammonia release

USA: A waffle manufacturer in San Jose has been fined $85,000 for the release of around 3,400lb (1,542kg) of ammonia.

The Eggo Company was criminally charged with negligently discharging an air contaminant, failing to immediately report that release, providing inadequate training to its contractors, and failing to implement an adequate emergency action plan. The company was convicted on Friday and ordered to pay approximately $85,000.

The release occurred in January last year, when a subcontractor on a scissor lift damaged a pipe that began leaking ammonia refrigerant which is used to freeze the waffles it produces there.  

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said that Eggo managers did not call 911 until more than an hour had passed, mistakenly believing they had stopped the leak. The delay contributed to the emergency in which approximately 3,400 pounds of anhydrous ammonia escaped into the surrounding neighborhood. 

Residents were forced to shelter in place for several hours while first responders stopped the leak. No injuries were reported.

Eggo cooperated with regulatory authorities and is upgrading its systems and procedures to prevent future releases. 

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