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Enforcement

Millard Refrigerated Services, LLC Clean Air Act (CAA) Settlement

(Washington, DC – June 2, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement with Millard Refrigerated Services, LLC to address three accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia at its Mobile Marine Terminal located in Theodore, Alabama.  The most serious of the releases resulted in 152 people being treated at local hospitals. Millard Refrigerated Services, LLC has since been acquired by Lineage Logistics. 

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Overview of Company

Millard Refrigerated Services, LLC (Millard) was founded in 1963 in Millard (now part of Omaha), Nebraska and was incorporated in the State of Georgia. Millard operated numerous cold storage facilities across the United States and Canada. Millard offered refrigeration and distribution services to major retail, food service and food distribution companies for both domestic and international locations.   

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Violations

  • On April 25, 2007, an anhydrous ammonia release occurred at the Mobile Marine Terminal. An internal investigation revealed the cause to be failure to control hydraulic shock, a well-known hazard in the ammonia refrigeration industry.
  • On January 6, 2010, a second anhydrous ammonia release occurred at the Mobile Marine Terminal. An internal investigation did not identify a root cause.
  • On August 23, 2010, the Mobile Marine Terminal experienced a third release of anhydrous ammonia when 32,000 pounds of the chemical were released into the environment. The ammonia travelled directly over a site where more than 800 people were working on decontaminating ships responding to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mobile, Alabama, Emergency Management Agency ordered an evacuation of the surrounding area and a one mile shelter in place situation following the ammonia release. 152 people working at the site and on ships were treated for symptoms of ammonia exposure at hospitals in the Mobile area, four of whom were admitted into intensive care units. An internal investigation identified the cause of the release as failure to control hydraulic shock.
  • Section 112(r)(7) of the CAA and the implementing regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, require owners and operators of a stationary source that has more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a process to develop and implement a risk management program. The stationary source’s risk management program is to be described in a risk management plan that must be submitted to EPA. The Millard Mobile Marine Terminal was subject to these regulations because the refrigeration systems contained more than the threshold of 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.
  • EPA inspections and investigation indicated that there were 37 separate violations CAA Section 112(r)(7) and its implementing regulations found at 40 C.F.R. Part 68.
  • Section 304(a) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11004(a), requires any person who owns or operates a facility at which a hazardous chemical is produced, used or stored to immediately provide notice of a release of an extremely hazardous substance from the facility (to offsite locations) in an amount equal to or greater than its reportable quantity (RQ), as described in Section 304(b) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11004(b).  The notification must be given to the State Emergency Response Center (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC).
  • EPA inspections and investigations of the three incidents described above indicated that Millard violated Clean Air Act Section 112(r)(1) by failing to identify the hazards of hydraulic shock and by failing to design its facility to minimize this hazard.
  • Section 304(a) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11004(a), requires any person who owns or operates a facility at which an extremely hazardous substance is produced, used or stored to immediately provide notice of a release of such a substance from the facility (to offsite locations) in an amount equal to or greater than its reportable quantity (RQ), as described in Section 304(b) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11004(b).  The notification must be given to the State Emergency Response Center (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC). 
  • EPA inspections and investigation indicated that Millard violated EPCRA by failing to provide notice to the SERC and to LEPC of the April 2007 release.
  • Section 103(c) of CERCLA similarly requires notification to the National Response Center (NRC) following a release of a hazardous substance in quantities greater that the RQ established pursuant to Section 102, 42 U.S.C. § 6902.
  • EPA inspections and investigations indicated that Millard violated CERCLA by failing to provide notification to the NRC for the April 2007 release.

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Injunctive Relief

There is no injunctive relief as Millard no longer owns the facility, the facility is no longer the Mobile Marine Terminal, and this facility is not being used as a refrigerated warehouse.

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Pollutant Impacts

As the Mobile Marine Terminal is no longer in operation there is no future risk of anhydrous ammonia releases occurring. 

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

Anhydrous ammonia is considered a poisonous gas. Exposure to its vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage, and irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure to anhydrous ammonia vapor at high concentrations can lead to serious lung damage and even death.

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Civil Penalty

Millard will pay a $3 million penalty to the United States.

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For more information, contact:

Ellen Rouch
Office of Environmental Accountability
U.S. EPA, Region IV
61 Forsyth Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404) 562-9575
rouch.ellen@epa.gov

Dean B. Ziegel
Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (MC 2249A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4038
ziegel.dean@epa.gov

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