EPA Reaches Settlement with Des Moines Cold Storage Co. Inc. for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

Date: 30 January 2021
EPA Reaches Settlement with Des Moines Cold Storage Co. Inc. for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Des Moines Cold Storage Co. Inc. to resolve alleged violations of federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Program regulations at the company’s three refrigeration storage and processing facilities in Des Moines, Iowa.

In response to the EPA inspection findings, the company took the necessary steps to return the facilities to compliance. As part of the settlement, the company will pay a $65,008 civil penalty.

At the time of the EPA inspections in March 2020, each facility contained over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, making them subject to Risk Management Program regulations intended to protect communities from accidental releases of toxic and/or flammable substances.

Anhydrous ammonia presents a significant health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. Exposure may result in injury or death. Anhydrous ammonia is also flammable and can explode if released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present, or if a vessel containing anhydrous ammonia is exposed to fire.

During the inspections, EPA determined that Des Moines Cold Storage Co. Inc. failed to submit and implement risk management plans and a hazard assessment concerning the potential release of anhydrous ammonia.

EPA has found that many regulated facilities are not adequately managing the risks they pose or ensuring the safety of their facilities in a way that is sufficient to protect surrounding communities. Approximately 150 catastrophic accidents occur each year at regulated facilities. These accidents result in fatalities, injuries, significant property damage, evacuations, sheltering in place, or environmental damage. Many more accidents with lesser effects also occur, demonstrating a clear risk posed by these facilities.

Reducing risks from accidental releases of hazardous substances at industrial and chemical facilities is a top priority for EPA. The Agency identified this goal as one of seven National Compliance Initiatives in 2019.

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