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EPA and Sherman County Farm Chemical & Fertilizer Company settle Risk Management Program violations at Wasco, Oregon, facility

09/29/2020
Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)
206-553-7302

SEATTLE - The Region 10 office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with the Sherman County Farm Chemical & Fertilizer Company, resolving violations of the federal Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements at the company’s facility in Wasco, Oregon.

The Clean Air Act  requires facilities to develop and implement a Risk Management Program to detect, prevent, or minimize accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia, the release of which would potentially require a prompt emergency response.  A Risk Management Program also provides valuable information to local fire, police, and emergency response personnel allowing them to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community. 

“If you store large quantities of dangerous chemicals, no matter what business you’re in, you must comply with all laws and regulations that protect your neighbors and local first responders,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “We take special interest in pursuing violations like these because they can lead to community tragedies when accidents happen.”

EPA alleged that the company failed to comply with the Risk Management Program requirements designed to ensure the safe handling, storage, and use of anhydrous ammonia.  Under the terms of the settlement, Sherman County Farm Chemical & Fertilizer  Co. has agreed to pay a $146,000 penalty.

Among the alleged violations:

  • Failure to adequately consider different accidental release scenarios during anhydrous ammonia loading and unloading at the facility.
  • Failure to address known hazards, including aging and out-of-date equipment.
  • Failure to maintain written instructions for emergency shutdown, operation, and inspection of equipment.
  • Failure to train and test employees for anhydrous ammonia handling competency.
  • Failure to perform required inspection and maintenance on existing process equipment.

The settlement is effective immediately.

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To learn more about EPA’s Clean Air Act Risk Management Program: Clean Air Act Section 112r Fact Sheet