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Anaheim company fined after failing to notify response agencies following chemical release

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149,

Nor-Cal Beverage to pay $26,000 for ammonia release

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined the Nor-Cal Beverage Company, Inc. $26,000 for an ammonia air release that occurred at its Anaheim, Calif., bottling plant.

According to the EPA, in May 2007, the Nor-Cal Beverage Company released over 800 pounds of ammonia due to equipment failure. The federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act require that a release of this size be reported to the proper authorities, who ensure the appropriate response to spills and releases.

The Nor-Cal Beverage Company did not properly notify the National Response Center and the California Office of Emergency Services, although the company did immediately contact the Anaheim Fire Department, which was a responder to the emergency incident.

“This is the kind of situation that communities living near industrial facilities worry about—a company that failed to make all notifications immediately and properly after releasing a hazardous substance into the air,” said Dan Meer, Superfund Assistant Director, EPA Region 9. “Without accurate information about releases, emergency planners and responders cannot adequately prepare to protect our communities in the event of an accidental or intentional release of those chemicals.”

Exposure to ammonia can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Lung damage and death may occur after exposure to very high concentrations of ammonia.

The Nor-Cal Beverage Company has since made significant modifications and changed notification procedures to ensure that future accidental releases would be easier to curtail and immediately report.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act requires immediate notification of the release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance, such as ammonia, in order to allow emergency response teams an opportunity to evaluate the nature and extent of the release, prevent exposure to the hazardous substance, and minimize consequences to public health and the environment.

For more information on the CERCLA, please visit:

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires that facilities report on-site extremely hazardous chemicals, to ensure emergency responders take proper precautions in the event an accidental or intentional release occurs.

For more information on the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act, please visit EPAs web site at:

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