Agrichemical Firms Fined for Hazard Reports

     (CN) – Foster Poultry Farms settled federal charges of reporting violations on more than half a ton of ammonia and sulfuric acid it stored at its Kelso, Wash., facility.
     The Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlements with Foster Farms and three other Washington companies on Monday. The four companies were fined a total of $344,700 and must spend a total of $183,000 on environmental and monitoring systems.
     They did not properly report storage of significant amounts of hazardous chemicals to local and state response authorities, which is required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
     Foster Farms, which is based in California but runs a facility in Kelso, did not meet the federal deadline for reporting the stored chemicals in 2013.
     The EPA said Foster Farms failed to report storage of more than 500 lbs. of ammonia, which it uses for refrigeration, and more than 500 lbs. of sulfuric acid.
     Anhydrous ammonia is an irritant and corrosive to the skin, eyes, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Exposure to it can cause severe chemical burns and frostbite. It can explode if exposed to strong oxidizers.
     Foster Farms has submitted the required reports and will pay a fine of $112,500.
     “If emergency responders don’t have accurate records on hazardous chemicals in their communities, it can hinder their ability to respond during crises,” said Kelly McFadden, manager of the Pesticides and Toxics Unit in EPA’s Seattle office. “These laws are in place to protect emergency responders and communities when it matters most.”
     Shining Ocean, a wholesale seafood distributor in Sumner, Wash., was fined $16,575 for not reporting that it stored more than 500 lbs. each of ammonia and sulfuric acid from 2009 through 2013.
     It also must spend more than $87,000 on improving its ammonia monitoring system, including adding sensors, cameras and alarms.
     Two Rivers Terminal, a wholesale warehouse company that distributes agricultural pesticides and chemicals, was fined $200,000 for violations at three of its facilities.
     Wilcox Farms was fined $15,625 for failing to report 8,800 lbs. of ammonia and 2,550 lbs. of sulfuric acid at its Roy, Wash., facility in 2013. It also stored more than 67,000 lbs. of propane and more than 72,000 lbs. of diesel fuel there.
     Wilcox Farms agreed to spend $96,000 on an environmental project to convert its diesel-fueled boiler to propane fuel, to reduce air emissions.

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