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Release Date: 05/12/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1042

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that a Concord, NH, dairy manufacturer has agreed to pay a $7,735 fine and make improvements worth at least $55,317 at its facility in New Hampshire as well as those in New York State.

The consent agreement between Crowley Foods Inc. and EPA-New England stems from a March 1997 incident in which Crowley failed to notify state and federal officials of a release of about 2,200 pounds ammonia. Companies are required by federal environmental laws to report any release of more than100 pounds.

EPA initially proposed a $41,252 penalty against Crowley for its violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act and related provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. But the agency agreed to lower the penalty after Crowley agreed to perform a "supplemental environmental project" (SEP) involving improvements at its Concord plant, as well as at facilities in upstate New York.

"The release of ammonia at Crowley created a danger to workers and in the environment," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "But since then, the company has gone out of its way to correct problems in Concord as well as at its other facilities. We are glad that Crowley took this opportunity to upgrade its operations."

Although the improvements detailed in the consent agreement involve an expenditure of $55,317, Crowley has spent at least twice that much in additional improvements to its facilities. The SEP involves installing new equipment and safeguards that will both reduce the amount of ammonia that is released into the environment and improve emergency response capabilities at its plants.

Crowley, which manufactures ice cream and milk, uses ammonia to cool its dairy products. Widely used as a coolant, ammonia can cause severe burning and irritation to eyes, nose and respiratory systems.