Enforcement and Assistance in New England
EPCRA & RMP 2005 Case Highlights
Slater Dye Works, Inc.
The Company operates a dye works facility in Pawtucket, RI. A release occurred when the Company accidentally combined sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide in a chemical holding tank. The incompatible chemicals reacted causing the chemicals to be released into the air and to the nearby Blackstone River, resulting in a fish kill. The release forced emergency responders to evacuate approximately 200 people from the vicinity. Slater failed to properly notify emergency authorities. EPA-NE’s findings were released on October 5, 2004.
Northeast Refrigerated Terminals
Northeast Refrigerated Terminals had a release of approximately 1400 pounds of anhydrous ammonia from a pressure relief valve at its Middleboro, MA facility on April 18, 2004. The release resulted in evacuations within a one-mile radius of the facility. EPA and local and county emergency response teams responded to the incident. EPA determined that the cause of the accident was faulty maintenance procedures. The pressure relief valve experienced minor venting prior to April 18, which may have weakened the back pressure setting. The valve was not immediately replaced after the venting incident. In addition, the relief valve in question had not been replaced within the recommended fiveyear interval. EPA-NE’s findings were released on December 20, 2004.
Callahan Company Inc.
Callahan Company, Inc. of Walpole, MA handles large quantities of extremely hazardous, flammable and reactive chemicals. The EPA-NE investigation was conducted following two acetone releases within three weeks. EPA determined that both releases occurred as a result of human error. The investigation found that: Callahan failed to follow standard operating procedures for the chemical loading operation; ignition sources were in areas where flammable vapors were present; there was no redundancy, mechanical interlocks, alarms or detectors at the plant; incompatible chemical and pumping operations were found; aisle height and width were deficient in the drum storage area; fire protection was inadequate; and there was a missing fire door on the drum filling station. In addition, emergency response procedures were deficient and Callahan failed to properly report the first release to the National Response Center (NRC). EPA-NE’s findings were released on March 28, 2005.
On Sept. 30, 2005, EPA-NE proposed a $113,640 penalty against Callahan under EPCRA, CERCLA and the CAA. Callahan has already paid a $101,000 penalty to MA DEP and is cleaning up the spilled acetone from the soil and wetlands adjacent to its facility.
On June 25, 2002, the Pfizer Global Research and Development facility in Groton, CT had a chemical incident with borane tetrahydrofuran in a 2 molar concentration (BTHF2M). EPA believes that the chemical release resulted from an accident in which the chemical reagent underwent a Boiling Liquid Vapor Explosion (BLEVE). The BLEVE most likely occurred because the 400L cylinder used to package the material was not refrigerated during transportation and storage and the cylinder was subjected to elevated temperatures for an extended period of time. These conditions most likely led to the chemical release. EPA-NE’s findings were released on June 3, 2005.
Harodite Industries, Inc.
Harodite, located in Taunton, MA, operates a textile finishing mill and conducts operations such as bleaching and adhesive application on fabrics and components for the auto industry. An accident occurred on March 2, 2005 when a delivery of 2000 gallons of 50% sodium hydroxide from a tank trunk was accidentally put into a sodium silicate storage tank. The sodium hydroxide overflowed through the tank outlet onto the ground outside the building and then to the nearby Three Mile River. The accident was not reported to EPA until five days later. EPA determined that the cause of the accident was the failure by the chemical supplier to follow proper delivery procedures and a failure to verify the destination of his load. Inadequate labeling of the delivery point, lack of operating procedures for receiving bulk chemical deliveries, and a lack of safety locks were contributing factors to the release. EPA-NE’s findings were released on August 9, 2005.
EPA-NE issued an administrative complaint and proposed a $39,663 penalty against Nova Chemicals, Inc. of Indian Orchard, MA. On January 7, 2004, the company had a chemical accident resulting in the release of 4,500 pounds of styrene monomer. The complaint alleges that the Company failed to take steps to prevent chemical releases, failed to minimize the consequences of accidental releases and failed to immediately report the accident and resulting spill. The complaint was issued on September 21, 2005.
OSRAM SYLVANIA of Exeter, NH has agreed to pay $14,000 to settle a complaint brought by EPA-NE for violating federal clean air and chemical release notification rules in 2003. The company, which manufactures glass and ceramic products, had an accidental release of hydrofluoric acid on May 13, 2003. The complaint alleged that OSRAM SYLVANIA failed to have an adequate risk management plan and failed to report the release in a timely manner. The consent agreement was filed on June 29, 2005.