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EPA Cites National Fruit Products Co. for Deficient Reporting of 2003 Ammonia Release at Winchester, Va. Facility

Release Date: 10/05/2006
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited National Fruit Products Co., Inc., for violating hazardous chemical reporting requirements at the company’s facility at 550 Fairmount Ave., Winchester, Va.

EPA seeks a $68,752 penalty for National Fruit’s untimely reporting of an accidental release of at least 865 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on August 22, 2003. EPA discovered the reporting violations during a June 15, 2005 inspection of National Fruit’s Winchester facility.

EPA cited the company for violating two federal laws on reporting of hazardous chemical spills. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the “Superfund” statute) requires companies to immediately report releases of hazardous substances to the National Response Center (NRC). The NRC, staffed by the U.S. Coast Guard, is the national point of contact for reporting all oil and hazardous chemical spills. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) mandates that facilities similarly notify state and local emergency officials of such releases, and provide follow-up written reports on spill response plans, and the medical effects of the releases.

EPA alleges that National Fruit failed to provide immediate reports of the ammonia release to the appropriate federal and state officials, and failed to provide follow-up written reports as soon as practicable. The ammonia release occurred between 1:45 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on August 22, 2003. National Fruit did not notify the NRC until 4:42 p.m., did not notify state emergency officials, and failed to file follow-up written reports.

These reporting requirements are designed to protect public health and the environment by ensuring that federal, state and local response officials are able to promptly respond to discharges of hazardous substances. For more information about EPA’s emergency response program for releases of oil and hazardous substances, visit:

The company has the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.