U.S. EPA fines defunct Artesia Ice manufacturing company for failing to notify authorities after 2007 ammonia release
Southern California company faces $2500 fine
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Orange County Ice, doing business as Artesia Ice, $2,500 for releasing 4,500 pounds of ammonia into the air at its former Artesia, Calif., ice production plant in 2007.
According to the EPA, on December 18, 2007, Orange County Ice accidentally released approximately 4,500 pounds of ammonia to the air. However, Orange County Ice did not notify the National Response Center until May 27, 2008. The federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act requires that releases be immediately reported to the proper authorities to ensure the appropriate response to spills and releases.
Soon after the incident, Orange County Ice closed its Artesia facility.
“Companies need to understand the importance of providing accurate and timely information about chemical releases and take steps to make that happen, so emergency planners and responders can adequately prepare to protect their communities,” said Daniel Meer, assistant director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Superfund program.
Exposure to ammonia can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Lung damage and death may occur after exposure to very high concentrations of ammonia.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act requires immediate notification of the release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance, such as ammonia, in order to allow emergency response teams an opportunity to evaluate the nature and extent of the release, prevent exposure to the hazardous substance, and minimize consequences to public health and the environment.
For more information on the CERCLA, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm.