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Hazardous chemical reporting roundup: EPA settles American Electric Power and Sewall Gear cases; cites St. Paul, Minn., and Monroe, Mich. companies

Release Date: 7/14/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA118

CHICAGO (July 14, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled two administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations and filed new cases against two companies for chemical recordkeeping violations.

In the first settlement, Indiana Michigan Power Company (d/b/a American Electric Power), Bridgman, Mich., paid $14,769 to resolve EPA's July 2004 complaint for failure to provide prompt notification to national, state and local authorities of a 1,227-pound release of sodium hypochlorite from its Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Bridgman on Nov. 16, 2002. A required follow-up report was also received late, 58 days after the incident. The problem was caused
by a disconnected pipe leak that flowed onto the floor, then into a drain, and ultimately into a reservoir that feeds into a condenser and then into Lake Michigan. Sodium hypochlorite is used as a disinfectant in chlorination systems. It may cause severe skin and eye irritation or burns to broken skin, and is a respiratory irritant. As part of the settlement, the Columbus, Ohio-based company also agreed to install an improved sodium hypochlorite piping, leak detection and spill containment system. The supplemental environmental project is valued at $66,000.

In the second settlement, Sewall Gear Manufacturing, 705 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, Minn., paid $20,000 to resolve an April 2004 complaint. The company was cited for failure to submit to the Minnesota emergency response commission and the St. Paul fire department the required 2002 chemical inventory forms documenting the storage of 10,000 pounds of liquid nitrogen. Hazards associated with liquid nitrogen include frostbite, asphyxiation and implosion, if stored incorrectly. The company was also cited previously for hazardous materials recordkeeping violations.

In the first of two new cases, EPA proposed a $114,877 civil penalty against Loes Enterprises, 1457 Inglehart Ave., St. Paul. The company was cited for failure to prepare or have available material safety data sheets for five different chemicals stored on-site, and failure to submit to the St. Paul fire department and the Minnesota emergency response commission the required 2003 and 2004 chemical inventory forms for these chemicals.

In the other case, EPA proposed a $73,800 civil penalty against Oldcastle Materials (also known as Michigan Paving and Materials), at 3125 E. Front St., in Monroe, Mich. The company was cited for failure to submit to state and local authorities the required 2001 and 2002 chemical inventory forms for up to 56 million gallons of asphalt. Federal laws require notification to local authorities for storage of more than 10,000 pounds of liquid asphalt
cement. Liquid asphalt may cause irritation or burns to the skin, vision loss, abdominal pain or breathing difficulty.

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