The Washington State Department of Ecology has fined Snokist Growers of Yakima, Washington, $10,000 for failing to respond properly when 60 to 80 gallons of anhydrous ammonia leaked from the refrigeration system at its plant at Sawyer, near Yakima, Washington, in June.
State law requires that accidental spills or hazardous releases into the air be reported to local emergency authorities and the Department of Ecology. According to the department, the company did not report the leak to authorities and did not cooperate during an initial investigation of the incident. About two hours after the release, a passerby reported strong ammonia fumes to the local fire department, which stopped traffic near the plant and evacuated nearby residents. One person reported becoming ill.
Snokist had not filed a Tier II report with local fire departments, as required, the department reported.