The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 recently reached a settlement with Primera Foods Corp., Perham, Minn. for failing to immediately report the release of hazardous chemicals.
EPA said Primera Foods did not immediately report the release of 1,680 pounds of anhydrous ammonia that occurred at its Perham facility on May 2, 1998.
Under federal law, any release of more than 100 pounds of anhydrous ammonia must be reported immediately to the National Response Center and to the State and emergency panning committees (SERC).
Because Primera failed to notify the National Response Center and the Minnesota SERC of the release until about 33 hours after the incident, it will pay a fine of $14,000 and complete environmental projects totaling $101,126.
Primera Foods agreed to complete the following environmental projects as part of its fine.
Re-wire all starter motors for its ammonia compressors at its Perham facility to provide an automatic re-start in the event of a power outage.
Install an automatic shutdown system when pressure valves open.
Purchase and install sniffers in its plants in Perham, Minn., Cameron, Wis., Stockton, Ill., and either Barron, Wis. or Altrua, Minn. These sniffers will detect ammonia in the air and identify the locations of the leaks.