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Pioneer Americas Settles for failure to properly report the release of chlorine gas into the environment
Release Date: 01/16/2008
Contact Information: Suzanne Powers, (360) 753-9475, firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, email@example.com
Company agrees to provide over $59,000 in emergency response equipment for Tacoma Fire Department.
(Tacoma, Wash. - Jan. 16, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement with Pioneer Americas, LLC (Pioneer) for its failure to report the release of nearly 900 lbs of chlorine from their Tacoma facility in a timely manner. EPA announced the settlement today, which includes $15,804 in penalties and $59,144 to provide emergency response equipment for local firefighters.
The settlement agreement alleges that on February 12, 2007, the Pioneer facility (located at 2001 Thorne Road in Tacoma, Washington) failed to immediately notify local and state agencies about the chlorine release. According to Tacoma Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard, a large portion of the Port of Tacoma was closed and a number of people were evacuated. The Tacoma Fire Department reported 26 people, five fire fighters, and seven Korean Crewmembers from a nearby ship had to be transported to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment. Most injuries were minor and there were no fatalities.
The chlorine release and the failure to notify appropriate agencies are violations of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
According to Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, these laws help communities prepare for and respond to chemical accidents.
“In this case, everyone was very lucky that no one was severely injured due to the chlorine release and Pioneer’s failure to promptly notify first responders,” said Bussell. “Chlorine gas can be extremely dangerous, which is why immediately notifying the appropriate agencies is so important.”
In addition to the penalty, Pioneer will also perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) which will provide over $59,000 to purchase emergency response equipment for the Tacoma Fire Department. This equipment will improve the Department’s capabilities in responding to hazardous materials emergencies in a safe and effective manner.