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Chemical spill reporting violation: EPA settles with Stephenson Service Co., Freeport, Illinois

Release Date: 05/12/2009
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, 312-353-8547,

No. 09-OPA085

CHICAGO (May 12 , 2009) -U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled an administrative case involving hazardous chemical release and inventory reporting violations at Stephenson Service Co. in Freeport, Ill. The company will pay a civil penalty of $10,421 and purchase four safety suits and gloves, valued at $10,000, for the Stephenson and Jo Davies county fire departments.

Stephenson Service failed to provide immediate notification to the National Response Center and state emergency response commissions of a 2,797-pound release of anhydrous ammonia during a truck accident.

Anhydrous ammonia, commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems and as fertilizer, must be reported if releases are greater than 100 pounds. The chemical causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time.

The NRC activates the appropriate response authorities. Responders need to know what they're dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living and working in the area.

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