EPA Reaches Settlement Agreement with Peco Foods, Inc.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - (April 13, 2020) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an administrative settlement agreement with Peco Foods, Inc. resolving allegations that the company violated Section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions, and the regulations codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, commonly referred to as the Risk Management Program (RMP) at five of its facilities located in Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and Mississippi (Bay Springs, Brooksville, Canton, and Sebastopol).
"It is vital that facilities comply with Clean Air Act requirements to ensure that people in the surrounding communities can expect and enjoy healthy air quality," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Today’s agreement demonstrates EPA’s dedication to working with our state and local partners to pursue violations of laws that are critical to protecting public health and bring companies into compliance.”
The objective of the CAA 112(r)(7) and RMP is to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances and to minimize the consequences of those releases that do occur. Accidental releases of extremely hazardous chemicals can have serious consequences on public health, safety, and the environment. Peco Foods produces poultry products and uses anhydrous ammonia in their ammonia refrigeration process. Ammonia is regulated as an extremely hazardous substance.
EPA alleges that Peco Foods failed to identify hazards associated with its ammonia refrigeration systems and failed to design and maintain a safe facility by not compiling process safety information documentation for the technology of the process, by not developing operating procedures for the safe operation of the facility, by not adequately training employees, and by not conducting inspections and testing operating equipment.
The Consent Agreement and Final Order was filed on February 25, 2020. Under the terms of the agreement, Peco Foods took steps to return the five facilities to compliance, will pay a penalty of $106,250 and will donate emergency response equipment valued at $398,438, to the local fire departments.
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