Two Northwest companies settle with the EPA for hazardous chemical release reporting violations
SEATTLE -- Two Pacific Northwest companies have settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after failing to report the release of extremely hazardous substances to federal, state, and local agencies in violation of federal laws designed to protect communities and first responders.
Goodrich Corporation, Washington:
Goodrich Corporation in Spokane, Washington failed to immediately report the release of hydrogen cyanide to the National Response Center, the State Emergency Response Commission, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee, as required by Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and Section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
EPA alleges that on October 6, 2014, Goodrich released 25.5 pounds of hydrogen cyanide over a two-hour period. EPA alleges that Goodrich had knowledge of the release of hydrogen cyanide in quantities equal to or greater than 10 pounds, the reportable quantity, but did not report the release for nearly six weeks. Hydrogen cyanide is a hazardous substance listed in 40 C.F.R. § 302.4 and must be reported if 10 pounds or more is released. Hydrogen cyanide is highly flammable and soluble in water. It may form explosive mixtures with air and be ignited by heat, sparks or flames. Hydrogen cyanide may be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through skin. Initial odor may be irritating or foul and may deaden the sense of smell.
Goodrich has agreed to pay a penalty of $52,000.
Partner's Produce, Inc., Idaho:
Partner’s Produce, Inc. in Payette, Idaho failed to immediately report the release of anhydrous ammonia to the National Response Center, State Emergency Response Commission, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee, as required by Section 103 of CERCLA and Section 304 of EPCRA.
EPA alleges that Partner’s Produce released approximately 378 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on February 14, 2014, from its Payette, Idaho facility. Anhydrous ammonia is a poisonous gas. Exposure to vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage, as well as irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure to anhydrous ammonia vapor at high concentrations can lead to serious lung damage and even death.
EPA also alleges that Partner’s Produce violated Section 312 of EPCRA for failing to file annual Tier II Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reports for anhydrous ammonia at its facility in Payette, Idaho. EPCRA Section 312 requires companies to file hazardous chemical inventory reports with the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local Fire Department each year by March 1st.
Partner’s Produce agreed to pay a penalty of $67,392.
EPCRA was created in 1986 after the tragedy at the Union Carbide Pesticide plant in Bhopal India in which methylisocyanate was accidentally released killing and injuring thousands. EPCRA helps communities plan for emergencies involving hazardous substances. EPCRA requires hazardous chemical emergency planning by federal, state and local governments, tribes, and industry. It also requires industry to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous chemicals to federal, state, and local governments. More information can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/epcra.