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Weyerhaeuser to pay EPA penalty following explosion at Cosmopolis pulp mill
Release Date: 2/10/2003
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
February 10 , 2003
Settlement includes $15,569 in new equipment for local fire department
The Seattle office of the Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Weyerhaeuser Company has agreed to pay penalties and purchase emergency response equipment for the Cosmopolis Fire Department for failing to immediately notify authorities of a release of chlorine dioxide gas from its pulp mill in Cosmopolis, Washington.
The release occurred on July 11, 2002, following an explosion that sent a cloud of toxic chlorine gas into the air, threatening public health and safety.
The incident was not immediately reported to the National Response Center as required by the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund), nor to the State Emergency Response Commission as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
“Fortunately no one was injured and local emergency responders were able to handle the situation”, said EPA Regional Administrator John Iani. “It could have easily been much worse, which is why it is critical for companies to immediately report such incidents to all the proper authorities in case additional help needs to be mobilized quickly.”
The settlement requires Weyerhaeuser to pay $5,156 in penalties, and purchase a new breathing air compressor for the Cosmopolis Fire Department at a cost of $15,469.
The mill manufactures chemical pulp that is used to make products ranging from camera film to toothbrush handles.
###Technical Contact: Suzanne Power, 360/753-9475