News Releases from Region 07
EPA Inspections Reveal Clean Air Act Violations at Wilbur-Ellis Company Facilities in White Cloud, Troy and Silver Lake, Kan.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., July 16, 2015) - In a settlement agreement with EPA Region 7 filed today, Wilbur-Ellis Company has agreed to pay a $67,404 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its fertilizer facilities in White Cloud, Troy, and Silver Lake, Kan. The company is also required to spend an additional $113,121 on emergency response equipment to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project, benefitting the Sedgwick Fire Department and Doniphan County.
EPA inspections revealed the company exceeded the threshold quantity of anhydrous ammonia in processes at each of the three facilities. This requires each facility to file a Risk Management Plan with EPA and implement a risk management program. The inspections also noted violations of the Clean Air Act's Chemical Accident Prevention regulations at each facility.
Anhydrous ammonia is used in fertilizers, and can cause rapid dehydration and severe burns if inhaled. Short-term exposure at high concentrations can cause death. The threshold quantity of anhydrous ammonia in a process is 10,000 pounds. Facilities holding more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia in a process are required to comply with EPA's Risk Management Program regulations.
The regulations seek to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances and reduce the impact of releases that do occur. The Risk Management Plan is available to help local fire, police, and emergency response personnel prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies at the facilities.
"Companies have a responsibility to their employees, and the surrounding communities, to ensure they are using the best safety practices, and adhering to all regulations, when working with potentially dangerous chemicals," said EPA Region 7 Acting Administrator Mark Hague. "The Chemical Accident Prevention regulations exist to help ensure our communities are healthy, and that companies are doing all they can to work safely."
In addition to the $67,404 cash penalty, Wilbur-Ellis will provide $113,121 worth of emergency response equipment to the Sedgwick Fire Department and Doniphan County through performance of a Supplemental Environmental Project. A SEP is intended to be a project that produces environmental or public health and safety benefits, earning partial credit by EPA to offset the cost of the penalty.
"A Supplemental Environmental Project is a great tool to provide tangible benefits to the communities near these companies, while also holding the companies accountable to applicable environmental laws and regulations," said Hague.
By agreeing to the settlement, Wilbur-Ellis Company has certified that it is in compliance with the Clean Air Act and all of its requirements.