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EPA Reaches Settlement With Anhydrous Ammonia Facilities in Kansas and Iowa for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

05/14/2020
Contact Information: 
Ben Washburn (washburn.ben@epa.gov)
913-551-7364

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., May 14, 2020) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached settlements with two agricultural storage and supply businesses to resolve alleged violations of federal Clean Air Act regulations.

EPA inspected both companies in response to accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia that resulted in injuries to their employees. EPA inspections determined that the companies failed to design their processes for handling anhydrous ammonia in compliance with good engineering practices, and failed to meet other requirements intended to ensure adequate measures are in place to prevent and respond to an accidental release from the facilities.

Anhydrous ammonia presents a significant health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. Exposure may result in injury or death.

Midland Marketing Co-op Inc. owns one facility in Palco, Kansas; and Troy Elevator Inc. owns two facilities in Bloomfield and Blakesburg, Iowa. Each of the three facilities contain over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, making them subject to Risk Management Program regulations intended to protect communities from accidental releases of certain toxic or flammable substances.

In response to the EPA inspection findings, both companies took the necessary steps to bring all three facilities into compliance.

As part of its settlement, Midland Marketing Co-op agreed to pay a civil penalty of $19,999. The company also agreed to purchase emergency response and preparedness equipment for three local fire departments at an estimated cost of $25,569. Troy Elevator agreed to pay a civil penalty of $37,063 to resolve the alleged violations.

EPA has found that many regulated facilities are not adequately managing the risks they pose or ensuring the safety of their facilities in a way that is sufficient to protect surrounding communities. Approximately 150 catastrophic accidents occur each year at regulated facilities. These accidents result in fatalities, injuries, significant property damage, evacuations, sheltering in place, or environmental damage. Many more accidents with lesser effects also occur, demonstrating a clear risk posed by these facilities.

Reducing risks from accidental releases of hazardous substances at industrial and chemical facilities is a top priority for EPA, which identified this goal as one of seven National Compliance Initiatives in 2019.

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