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Home > Natural Resources > Air Quality Resources, Compliance and Solutions

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Can Result in Fines for Manufacturers

Facilities must report on-site extremely hazardous chemicals to ensure emergency responders take proper precautions

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Emergency Planning Solutions

Since 1986, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires that facilities report on-site extremely hazardous chemicals, to ensure emergency responders take proper precautions in the event an accidental or intentional release occurs.

For more information on the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act, please visit EPA’s web site at: EPA.GOV

In the Spring of 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined an Anaheim food manufacturer $36,400 for a 2006 ammonia air release violation at its food packaging plant. These air quality violations are not quickly resolved.

The EPA says the company did not properly notify the National Response Center and the California Office of Emergency Services, and the company failed to immediately contact the Anaheim Fire Department, which was a responder to the emergency incident.

"Facilities using hazardous chemicals must provide timely and accurate information about the risks posed by these chemicals to local, state and federal officials," said Keith Takata, Superfund Director, EPA Pacific Southwest Region. "Without this information, emergency planners and first responders cannot be adequately prepared to protect our communities in the event of an accidental or intentional release of those chemicals."

According to the EPA, in June 2006, the company released over 4,000 pounds of ammonia due to equipment strainer failure. This release was a reportable quantity under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act

Exposure to ammonia can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Ammonia is listed as a hazardous substance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

The firm has since made modifications at the facility and changed notification procedures, to ensure that any future accidental releases would be easier to curtail and immediately reported.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act requires immediate notification of the release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance, such as ammonia, in order to allow emergency response teams an opportunity to evaluate the nature and extent of the release, prevent exposure to the hazardous substance, and minimize consequences to public health and the environment.

For more information on the CERCLA, please visit their website: EPA.GOV - Superfund Policies.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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