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Enforcement

Reference News Release: Western Operating Company agrees to resolve alleged risk management planning and chemical reporting violations at Wiggins Gas Plant facility (Colo.)

03/05/2015
Contact Information: 
Greg Bazley U.S. EPA 
303-312-6255

Richard Mylott U.S. EPA 
303-312-6654
 
(Denver, Colo. - March 5, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Western Operating Company has agreed to pay $122,900 in penalties to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) at its gas plant in Morgan County, Colorado. The agreement resolves alleged violations of the risk management planning requirements of the CAA and the hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements under EPCRA.

The risk management planning provisions of the CAA require facilities that store chemicals in amounts exceeding regulatory thresholds to develop and implement plans to assist with emergency preparedness, chemical release prevention, and the minimization of any releases that may occur. Western Operating Company's Wiggins Gas Plant processes flammable chemical mixtures over the 10,000 pound threshold level.

An EPA inspector found that the facility had not adequately implemented the risk management planning requirements for flammable substances at the facility. Specific deficiencies included failure to timely resolve equipment maintenance problems identified by a contractor, failure to provide employees with accurate written operating procedures, failure to implement maintenance procedures on piping, and failure to properly test gas detection equipment.

According to the EPA settlement, Western Operating Company also failed to submit annual hazardous chemical inventory forms, also known as Tier 2 reports. Failing to file these reports deprives state and local emergency responders of information needed to plan and respond to spills and chemical releases. State and local response authorities use this information to facilitate emergency training and prepare for responding to hazardous chemical incidents. The company has agreed to file the required reports and remedy identified risk management planning deficiencies.

"Risk management plans and hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements protect communities by making sure that facilities provide transparent information and have procedures in place to prevent and respond to potential releases of the chemicals they use," said Suzanne Bohan, EPA's enforcement program director in Denver. "EPA appreciates Western Operating Company's efforts to address these deficiencies."

EPA's enforcement action is expected to encourage better compliance with both the CAA risk management planning and EPCRA reporting requirements and will ensure communities and responders have accurate information about chemicals present at facilities.
 

For more information on the Clean Air Act and risk management requirements: http://www2.epa.gov/rmp

For more information on the EPCRA requirements:
http://www2.epa.gov/epcra/epcra-sections-311-312