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Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative in Luana, Iowa, to Pay $33,880 Penalty for Community Right-to-Know Violations

Release Date: 05/29/2012
Contact Information: Ben Washburn, 913-551-7364,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., May 29, 2012) - Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative, a cheese manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $33,880 civil penalty to the United States to settle two violations of environmental regulations related to the public reporting of toxic chemicals at its facility in Luana, Iowa.

In settlement of this matter, Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative will also complete a supplemental environmental project. Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative will purchase emergency response equipment for the Luana, Iowa, fire department valued at approximately $10,786.

According to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., in May 2011, the Agency requested information from Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative and found the company had failed to submit reports to EPA and the State of Iowa concerning quantities of certain toxic chemicals that were manufactured, processed or otherwise used at the facility during 2009. Those chemicals were nitric acid and nitrate compounds. Nitrate compounds are known to be harmful to human health and toxic vapors of nitric acid may cause severe injury, burns, or death. During calendar year 2009, the facility manufactured, processed, or otherwise used 187,000 pounds of nitric acid and 71,000 pounds of nitrate compounds.

Submission of the annual toxic chemical reports is a requirement of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Under EPCRA regulations, companies of certain size are required to submit annual reports to EPA and state authorities listing the amounts of regulated chemicals that their facilities release into the environment through routine activities or as a result of accidents. The reports provide an important source of information to emergency planners and responders, and residents of surrounding communities.

EPCRA was enacted by Congress in 1986 as an outgrowth of concern over the protection of the public from chemical emergencies and dangers. After the catastrophic accidental release of methyl isocyanate at Union Carbide’s Bhopal, India, facility in December 1984, and a later toxic release from a West Virginia chemical plant, it was evident that national public disclosure of toxic release inventory information was needed.

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