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Rainbow Glacier Fined for Ammonia Leak
Release Date: 11/5/2003
Contact Information: Suzanne Powers
November 5, 2003
Company agrees to install major safety improvements
The Seattle office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Rainbow Glacier, Inc., a manufacturer of frozen popsicles, has agreed to pay penalties for failing to notify authorities immediately following the release of approximately 1,200 pounds of ammonia from its facility in Vancouver, Washington, in June of 2002.
The company will pay a cash penalty of $9,851.00, and purchase $18,565.00 in new safety equipment for its facility, including ammonia and natural gas leak detectors, an explosion-proof ventilation system, emergency shut-off switches, and emergency response training videos which can be loaned out to other facilities for employee training.
On June 16, 2002, the company discovered that ammonia had been released from a pressure relief valve in the facility’s cooling system. The release was not immediately reported to the National Response Center (NRC) as required by the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), nor to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
A review of company records also showed the company failed to submit a hazardous chemical inventory to proper authorities for calendar year 2001. Emergency responders rely on this information for their safety and that of nearby residents during an emergency.
Rainbow Glacier uses anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant in its cooling systems. Ammonia gas is colorless so there may not be any visual indication of when the gas is present. In high concentrations, it can cause severe burns to your skin, eyes, throat, and lungs and with high enough exposure, death.