The Oregon Ice Cream Co. in a settlement with the EPA agreed to make changes to its facility to prevent the release of toxic anhydrous ammonia at its manufacturing plant in Eugene, Ore.
The company, which makes Alden's Organic Ice Cream, agreed to make safety improvements and upgrade its refrigeration equipment, and pay $55,000 in penalties for violating rules and requirements established to prevent chemical emergencies.
“Our federal rules, by themselves, will not guarantee safety from chemical accidents. Companies that use toxic chemicals need to take responsibility to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA’s Pacific Northwest Office of Compliance and Enforcement.
The EPA found during a 2011 inspection that Oregon Ice Cream Co. was in violation of the federal Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan, which protects against the accidental release of hazardous chemicals.
The company did not have an adequate risk management plan or proper safety equipment like leak detection and ventilation on its refrigeration system, which at the time of the EPA inspection contained 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.
Without the proper safeguards, the company could have released a large amount of ammonia, which can be toxic and harmful if high concentrations are inhaled, into the air.
Oregon Ice Cream Co. has since upgraded its refrigeration equipment and its emergency relieve valve system, installed leak detection systems and an appropriate ventilation system, and improved general safety procedures, the EPA said.