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US EPA resolves Clean Air Act violations with 26 central California hazardous chemical handlers

Release Date: 11/08/2007
Contact Information: Contact: Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4248 cell (415) 760-5422

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently settled with 26 central California facilities for a total of $18,800 for failing to resubmit risk management plans, a violation of the Clean Air Act.

The settlements reached with the facilities, located in Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera, and Tulare counties, were finalized by using expedited settlement agreements that offer violators reduced penalties if they are able to quickly bring their facilities into compliance with federal regulations.

“Facilities must provide timely and accurate risk management plan information to EPA,” said Keith Takata, director of the Pacific Southwest region’s Superfund program. “The plans provide important emergency preparedness and response information and help to ensure that industries are doing their part in preventing chemical accidents.”

When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical releases and mitigate their potential impacts at facilities that store large amounts of extremely hazardous substances, flammables and other hazardous chemicals.

Ammonia and chlorine, extremely hazardous substances, were the most common chemicals found at the 26 facilities which include: cold storage and refrigeration, wineries, fruit packing, wastewater treatment, packaging manufacturing, and a water irrigation district.

Expedited settlement agreements provide an efficient way to resolve a large number of minor violations without increasing the use of agency resources. Facilities involved in the settlements received reduced penalties of $200 to $2,000, much less than normal penalty figures which can range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Such settlement agreements have been completed for facilities in Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa, and are planned to resolve violations in the Bay Area, northern and southern California. Expedited settlement agreements are an optional tool used by EPA, and facilities must meet several requirements in order to be eligible for one.

Facilities are required to update and resubmit their risk management plan at least once every five years. Risk management plan information is used by the EPA to assess chemical risks to surrounding communities and to prepare for emergency responses.

The following is a list of facilities that recently settled with EPA:

Fresno County: Actagro, LLC, Ballantine Produce Company, Inc., Beef Packers, Inc., Golden State Vintners Winery, HMC Cold Storage, Ito Packing Company, Inc., Kingsburg Apple Packers, Inc., Royal Valley Fruit Growers Association, S&S Produce, Franzia Winery Sanger, Tri-Boro Fruit Co., Inc.

Kings County: City of Avenal Water Treatment Plant, City of Hanford Wastewater Treatment, Stratford Growers, Inc., Warmerdam Packing Company

Kern County: Jakov P. Dulcich & Sons Cold Storage

Madera County: Sealed Air Corporation, Sun-Maid Growers of California

Tulare County: Anchor Warehouse Services, LLC, Anton Caratan & Sons, Ducor Cold Storage, Family Tree Farms, Inc., Franzia Winery Tulare, Jody, Inc., Lindsay Strathmore Irrigation District, Sandrini Sales, Inc.

For information on the Clean Air Act/Risk Management Plan requirements, please visit EPA’s Chemical Emergency Prevention and Preparedness website at: