U.S. EPA fines Safeway over chemical safety violations at ice cream facility
PHOENIX – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final agreement with Safeway, Inc. over violations of federal chemical safety law at Safeway’s ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturing facility in Phoenix. The violations pertain to chemical release prevention and reporting requirements Safeway will pay a $268,406 civil penalty.
“Preventing accidental releases is paramount in our mission to protect human health and the environment,” said John Busterud, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the country’s Pacific Southwest. “This settlement ensures Safeway takes appropriate steps to make its facilities safer for neighboring communities.”
In 2019, EPA inspectors found violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan regulations at the Phoenix Safeway facility. The violations focused on a failure to meet the Clean Air Act’s risk management program requirements for its anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system.
Safeway’s risk management program failed to:
- Implement recommended process hazard findings.
- Comply with process safety information requirements.
- Have appropriate pipe and instrument labeling.
- Document operating procedures.
- Identify management of change procedures.
- Ensure process equipment is constructed, installed, and maintained properly.
Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use and store extremely hazardous substances, such as anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents at these facilities—historically about 150 each year—result in fatalities, serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. Anhydrous ammonia is a toxic chemical that is highly corrosive to skin, eyes, and lungs. In addition to paying the civil penalty as part of the settlement, Safeway is addressing the violations at both facilities.
The facility was inspected as part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases at anhydrous ammonia refrigeration facilities and other facilities that store and use hazardous chemicals.
For more information on the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan Program and EPA’s work related to hazardous chemicals, please visit these websites:
- Risk Management Plan requirements under the Clean Air Act: https://www.epa.gov/rmp.
- EPA’s National Compliance Initiative related to reducing risks of accidental releases at ammonia refrigeration facilities: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-reducing-accidental-releases-industrial-and-chemical
- Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act program: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/what-epcra.