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Kraft Foods Resolves Two Environmental Cases By Agreeing to Pay Penalties and Perform Environmental Project at Woburn, Mass. Facility
Release Date: 07/13/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-1865
(Boston, Mass. - July 13, 2006) - EPA has resolved two administrative enforcement cases with a food processing facility in Woburn, Mass. owned and operated by Kraft Foods Global, Inc., for claims that it violated environmental requirements. One case involves an air release of 125 pounds of ozone-depleting refrigerant, and the other case involves a 500 gallon release of oil which migrated to a nearby river.
“It is important that industrial facilities pay close attention to their environmental responsibilities by focusing on requirements that are designed to prevent accidents before they occur,” said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “These two unrelated releases may have been avoided with greater care and focus on pollution prevention techniques.”
The first case resolves EPA’s findings that the Kraft facility violated the Clean Air Act’s federal Stratospheric Ozone Protection regulations when it failed to repair a leak of ozone-depleting refrigerant at one of its industrial process refrigeration (IPR) units, resulting in a release of 125 pounds of refrigerant. The case also involves claims that Kraft failed to maintain records relating to leak repairs on two of its IPR units.
To resolve the case Kraft agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty and to spend an additional $300,000 to perform a supplemental environmental project (“SEP”) involving replacement or retrofit of several of its IPR units. The old units could hold up to 525 pounds of ozone-depleting refrigerant, and will be replaced by units that use only non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.
Certain types of refrigerants are known to destroy the thin layer of ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. Most of these refrigerants are being phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.
Since late 2005, EPA has pursued several other cases against New England companies for violations of the stratospheric ozone protection program. Last December, EPA brought a case against U.S. Surgical in North Haven, Conn. which was settled for $56,320. In June, EPA settled a case against Sikorsky Aircraft, Inc. for $176,000. Most recently, EPA settled a case with Cambridge Brands, Inc., a candy maker in Cambridge, Mass. for $118,000.
Kraft resolved a second, unrelated case involving a December 26, 2005 oil spill, in which 500 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil discharged to soil from a leaking transfer pipe. The pipe connected an 860,000 gallon above-ground storage tank to the facility’s power plant. EPA claims that a portion of the oil migrated through the soil into Sweetwater Brook which flows into the Aberjona River, in Woburn, Mass., where a light sheen of oil was observed up to one mile down the river from the point of the spill. There were no reports of the spill impacting fish, waterfowl, or other animals.
EPA claims that the spill violated oil spill regulatory requirements under the federal Clean Water Act. Kraft agreed to pay a $9,950 penalty to resolve the case.
More information on EPA New England’s Air Enforcement Program (epa.gov/NE/enforcement/air/index.html).
More information on EPA New England enforcement of the Clean Water Act (epa.gov/ne/enforcement/water/index.html)
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