Under settlement, facility owners will pay fine, make safety improvements
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Reddy Ice Phoenix for EPA’s Clean Air Act (CAA) findings at its Phoenix‑based facility. The company will pay $182,659 in civil penalties.
Following an EPA inspection of Reddy Ice’s Phoenix-based ice manufacturing facility in June 2019, EPA determined that Reddy Ice failed to comply with Clean Air Act Section 112(r) rules to prevent accidental release, which requires that facilities storing more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are properly designed, operated, and maintained to minimize the risk of an accidental release.
Specifically, EPA determined that Reddy Ice failed to properly design its refrigeration system to comply with applicable design codes and standards, maintain inspection and testing records on certain equipment, correct engineering control deficiencies related to ammonia detectors, emergency exhaust fans, and alarms, and did not act upon compliance audit findings.
“It is every company’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the law, including critical safety regulations under the Clean Air Act for handling dangerous chemicals like anhydrous ammonia,” said EPA Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Failure to do so can endanger public health and safety, especially for those in underserved and vulnerable communities close to facilities with ammonia refrigeration systems.”
Anhydrous ammonia can cause serious, often irreversible health effects when released. In addition to potential harmful effects from inhalation of or skin contact with this substance, it is highly flammable. Anhydrous ammonia is considered an extremely hazardous substance.
About Clean Air Act Section 112(r):
Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act requires companies of all sizes that use certain listed regulated flammable and toxic substances to develop and implement a Risk Management Program. A properly developed Risk Management Program includes:
- A hazard assessment that details the potential effects of an accidental release, an accident history of the last five years, and an evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental release scenarios.
- A prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures.
- An emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and response agencies (e.g., the fire department) should an accident occur.
About Anhydrous Ammonia Accidents
Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents, historically about 150 each year, at facilities, which include ammonia refrigeration facilities, result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. EPA inspects these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents.
For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.
For more information on Clean Air Act Section 112(r) visit EPA’s Fact Sheet: Clean Air Act Section 112(r): Accidental Release Prevention / Risk Management Plan Rule website.
Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.