EPA Fines Salinas-Based Facilities $178,000 for Clean Air Act Violations
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with Taylor Farms over alleged Clean Air Act violations at the Taylor Fresh, Inc. and Taylor Farms California, Inc. food storage and distribution facilities in Salinas, California. The violations pertain to chemical release prevention and reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act. The Delaware-based company will pay more than $178,000 in civil penalties and make safety improvements to their facilities to ensure protection of the public and first responders from dangerous chemicals.
Both facilities use anhydrous ammonia in their refrigeration systems. Anhydrous ammonia can cause serious, often irreversible health effects when released. The chemical, which is also highly flammable, is considered an extremely hazardous substance.
“It is paramount that facilities properly handle extremely hazardous substances to prevent dangerous chemical accidents. These efforts are needed to safeguard workers and nearby communities,” said U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, Amy Miller. “Failure to do so can result in significant fines.”
EPA inspections of the two Salinas facilities identified significant violations of the Clean Air Act’s risk management program requirements. The inspections revealed process safety and equipment maintenance issues including failure to properly conduct a hazard assessment, failure to document the design, maintenance, inspection, testing and operation of electrical equipment, and lack of written operating procedures.
Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents at ammonia refrigeration facilities—historically about 150 each year—result in evacuations as well as fatalities, serious injuries, and other harms to human health and the environment. EPA inspected these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risks to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents.
For more information on the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan Program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/rmp.
To find information on General Duty Clause requirements under the Clean Air Act, visit: https://www.epa.gov/rmp/general-duty-clause-under-clean-air-act-section-112r1.