The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled alleged civil chemical accident prevention and preparedness violations with three separate companies operating a total of eight cold storage facilities in Yakima County, Washington, according to an EPA news release. All facilities involved in the settlement use anhydrous ammonia for refrigerated cold storage. 

The settlements were reached under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). According to the release, each facility owner or operator has agreed to pay a penalty as part of these settlements:

—Stadelman Fruit LLC will pay a penalty of $238,875 for four facilities located in Zillah on 1st Avenue, Cheyne Road, Bella Terra Road and West Northstone Parkway. 

—Hollingbery and Sons Inc. will pay a penalty of $21,600 for one facility in Yakima on North 1st Avenue. 

—Hollingbery CA and Cold Storage LLC will pay a penalty of $96,600 for three facilities in Yakima on North 1st Avenue.

EPCRA Section 312 requires companies to file hazardous chemical inventory report forms with their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Committee and local fire department each year by March 1. Timely and accurate reporting helps protect responders and surrounding communities in the event of an accidental, uncontrolled release of hazardous chemicals. In addition to its potential harmful health effects from inhalation and skin contact, anhydrous ammonia is highly flammable. 

According to the release, the settlements are part of EPA’s nationwide campaign to protect unfairly burdened communities and reduce or eliminate accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities located in or near neighborhoods similar to those in Zillah and Yakima.

—by Jonelle Mejica