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Failure to properly report hazardous chemical release nets Paneltech International, LLC, a $2,500 EPA Fine

Release Date: 01/22/2007
Contact Information: Suzanne Powers, (360) 753-9475, Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203,

Company agrees to provide $7,500 in emergency response equipment for Hoquiam Fire Department.

(Hoquiam, Wash. Jan. 22, 2007) Paneltech International, LLC, a wood-based resins manufacturing company, will pay a $2,500 U.S. Environmental Protection agency fine for failure to report the release of approximately 3,350 pounds of phenol - an extremely hazardous substance - to the environment. According to EPA documents, Paneltech failed report the release to the National Response Center (as required by federal law) until more than two hours after the incident occurred at their Hoquiam, Washington facility on December 1, 2005.

Further EPA investigation revealed that Paneltech also failed to file a Tier I or Tier II Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals Report to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the local fire department. The failure to file the Tier I and Tier II Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals Report with appropriate agencies is a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). In addition to the penalty, Paneltech has also agreed to perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), which will provide $7,500 worth of emergency response equipment for the Hoquiam Fire Department. The SEP will provide self-contained breathing apparatus for response to certain fire and hazardous materials incidents.

According to Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, planning and preparedness laws help save lives.

“These laws help communities prepare for and safely respond to chemical accidents,” Bussell said. “They also help reduce the likelihood and severity of accidental chemical release that could harm the public and the environment.”

Paneltech owns and operates a facility in Hoquiam, Washington, that specializes in wood-based resins and high performance overlay surfaces for wood paneling manufacturers.

Phenol, also known under an older name of carbolic acid, is a colorless crystalline solid with a typical sweet tarry odor. Phenol is considered an extremely hazardous substance and is listed as a hazardous substance under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).