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EPA settles with FCF Fishery, reimbursed $20,000 for gas cylinder removal in American Samoa

Release Date: 10/18/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,

HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently settled with shipping agent FCF Fishery for $20,000 to reimburse the agency for its removal and disposal of old ammonia and Freon gas cylinders stored at a warehouse in Lauli'i Village in American Samoa.

The EPA continues to seek reimbursement costs from other shipping agents and the owner of the warehouse in Lauli'i that are being held by the EPA as responsible for the gas cylinders.

"We are pleased that FCF has agreed to share in the costs for this removal action and encourage the others involved to do the same," said Peter Guria, chief of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Regional Emergency Response Section. "Shipping agents and companies need to be responsible for the proper disposal of their gas cylinders to protect people and the environment from exposure to chemicals."

In April 2004, the EPA and American Samoa hazardous materials response teams removed and neutralized more than 35 deteriorating cylinders of anhydrous ammonia, eliminating the threat of an ammonia release in Lauli'i Village. Many of the cylinders may have been discarded by shipping agents that stop in Pago Pago Harbor.

Anhydrous ammonia is used as a refrigerant by most tuna fishing vessels. Exposure to ammonia may cause severe burns or throat irritation and in extreme cases, blindness or lung damage can occur.

The EPA's Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act regulations require that responsible parties may be held liable for all costs in responding to any release or threatened release of hazardous substances. Responsible parties include current and former owners or operators of a facility, persons who arranged for treatment or disposal of hazardous substances, and persons who accepted hazardous substances for transport.

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