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EPA Fines Garden & Pet Product Supplier $69,000 for Failing to Notify Authorities of a Hazardous Release

Release Date: 2/24/2003
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday fined Central Garden and Pet Company $69,000 for failing to immediately report to the proper authorities its release of hazardous chemicals as a result of a fire that broke out at its South Phoenix warehouse in August 2000.
     The company failed to notify the National Response Center when seven different hazardous substances that could endanger public health or the environment were released into the environment. The chemicals included pesticides, such as malathion and diazinon, pool care chemicals and a number of other products used for yard, garden and pet care.
    "Failing to immediately report hazardous releases weakens the EPA's ability to respond to and assist first responders in handling chemical releases in their communities," said Keith Takata, the Superfund Division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest office.  "Companies working with toxic chemicals have a responsibility to their employees and the surrounding neighborhood to report these releases."
    The warehouse at 4424 South 38th Place stored lawn, garden and pool products.  The fire destroyed most of the retail products and the warehouse itself.
    Federal law requires immediate notification of a reportable release in order for emergency response teams to evaluate the nature and extent of a hazardous substance release, prevent exposure and minimize consequences. Once notified, the National Response Center engages federal support of state and local emergency response activities.

     Further information about Community Right-To-Know, Superfund and hazardous substance release notification requirements may be obtained by calling the U.S. EPA's toll-free number at 1-800-424-9346.