News Releases from Region 03
Virginia Dairy Settles With EPA on Alleged Environmental Violations
PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2016) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Sunshine Pride Dairy, Inc. will pay a $179,074 penalty to settle alleged federal environmental violations at its former cheese processing facility in Winchester, Va. The dairy shut down cheese processing operations in December 2011, but left anhydrous ammonia, a hazardous substance, stored in its refrigeration system with only a skeleton maintenance crew at the facility.
EPA alleged that in July 2012, the facility did not properly notify emergency response agencies about two instances when anhydrous ammonia was released into the air. These included one release of between 100-500 pounds and another of more than 1,500 pounds. After the second release, Sunshine Pride Dairy had the remaining anhydrous ammonia drained from the system.
EPA cited the company for not updating its operating procedures to reflect current conditions at the facility, failing to document proper training of its operators, and failing to maintain its ammonia processing equipment. In addition, EPA also alleged that the dairy did not report the ammonia to the state, county and local fire department as required on its annual chemical reporting forms for the years 2012 and 2013.
The settlement resolves alleged violations under three federal statutes: failing to maintain risk management obligations required under the Clean Air Act Section 112(r); failing to comply with community right-to-know reporting requirements; and failing to report releases to the National Response Center, as required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
These requirements help to ensure safeguards are in place to protect the health and safety of workers, local residents and the environment. It’s also essential that local, state and national emergency response authorities are notified immediately when a release of hazardous substances occurs, so they can respond quickly and effectively.
As a part of the settlement, the company did not admit or deny EPA’s allegations.
The applicable federal statutes are: