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Borton and Sons, Inc. Agrees to Pay EPA over $16,000 for Clean Air Act – Risk Management Program Violations (Yakima, WA)

Release Date: 09/03/2008
Contact Information: Calvin Terada, EPA Seattle, (206) 553-4141,; Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203,

Company agrees to spend over $53,000 in safety improvements at its cold storage facility in Yakima, Washington

(Seattle, Wash. – September 3, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Borton & Sons, Inc. (Borton & Sons) has agreed to pay $16,746 for alleged federal Clean Air Act (CAA) Risk Management Program violations. The alleged violations occurred between June 21, 2004 and June 30, 2006.

As part of the settlement with the EPA, Borton & Sons also has corrected all alleged violations, and agreed to spend at least $53,544 on implementing a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) within the next twelve months. The SEP involves taking steps at its facility to reduce the risk of release of anhydrous ammonia from its pipes in its 1991 building. These steps include:

  • Removing Rubatex foam rubber insulation from the steel pipes which transport anhydrous ammonia to its refrigerated storage facility;
  • Replacing insulation with an insulation system that provides a better fit and more reliable moisture seal; and
  • Replacing any damaged, pitted, or rusted pipes.

Based on an EPA inspection of Borton & Sons cold storage warehouse facility on June 22, 2006, and follow-up information provided by the company, EPA found that the facility lacked a prevention program to protect the public and the environment from off-site release of anhydrous ammonia. EPA was particularly concerned about the lack of:
  • Safety information pertaining to the hazards of ammonia;
  • Procedures for identifying, evaluating, and controlling the hazards involved in the cold storage process;
  • Sufficient operating procedures and operator training; and
  • Documentation regarding process equipment maintenance.

According to Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, the Risk Management Program is designed to protect public health and the environment from accidental releases of harmful chemicals.

"We can't take chances with public health," said EPA’s Bussell. "Preventing a release of something as potentially dangerous as anhydrous ammonia protects the lives of workers, responders and nearby residents."

Borton & Sons owns and operates a cold storage warehouse in Yakima, Washington where it utilizes more than 10,000 lbs of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration purposes. At that level of use, the Clean Air Act requires Borton & Sons to implement a Risk Management Program (RMP). Specifically, Section 112(r) requires all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store, or otherwise handle greater than a threshold amount of a regulated substance(s) to develop a "Risk Management Program" and submit Risk Management Plans. Toxic chemicals, such as ammonia and chlorine, are covered by the program.

Anhydrous ammonia is one of the most dangerous chemicals used in refrigeration and agriculture today. Few problems occur when the ammonia is being handled as intended; most accidents with anhydrous ammonia are due to uncontrolled releases. It is used and stored under high pressure, which requires specially designed and well-maintained equipment. Those who work with anhydrous ammonia must be trained to follow exact handling procedures. The primary causes of uncontrolled releases are improper handling procedures, careless or untrained workers, or faulty equipment.

Specific items required by the Risk Management Program include: development of an emergency response or action plan; hazard evaluation of a "worst case and "more probable case" chemical release; operator training; review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances; and operating procedures and equipment maintenance.

To learn more about EPA’s work to protect communities from toxic chemicals through the Risk Management Program go to:

For more about toxic effects of Anhydrous Ammonia (NIOSH GUIDE):