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Release Date: 3/3/2000
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1589

     SAN FRANCISCO -- Sorenson Engineering, Inc., of Yucaipa, Calif. has agreed to pay a $32,500 fine and install $229,529 worth of pollution control equipment to settle a case for failing to report releases of phosphoric acid and nitric acid to the environment between 1990 and 1995, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.  

     "Companies working with hazardous chemicals have a responsibility to their employees and the surrounding neighborhood to report chemical releases," said Enrique Manzanilla,  EPA's regional Cross Media Division director. "EPA is maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices."

     The suit was originally brought by a non-profit environmental group, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), under the citizen's suit provision of the statute.  The EPA and the Department of Justice intervened when Sorenson disputed the allegations and did not come into compliance.

     As part of the settlement negotiated with the EPA, Sorenson will completely cease its use of chromic acid and install emission control devices on its vapor degreasing system.  These changes will eliminate air emissions of hexavalent chromium and reduce air emissions of tetrachloroethylene by about 19,000 pounds a year.  Both of these chemicals are carcinogens.

     Federal law requires certain facilities with ten or more employees using chemicals to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state. The reports estimate the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management.  Information is then compiled into a national database and made available to the public.

     Each year the EPA publishes a report entitled the Toxic Release Inventory Public Data Release, which summarizes the prior year's submissions and provides detailed trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.  For more information, call (800)535-0202.  The EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can also be accessed on the Internet at: .

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