Failure to properly report ammonia release nets Coca-Cola Bottling Company an EPA fine of over $4,400
For failing to timely report the release of between 200-300 lbs of ammonia from their Bellevue, Washington facility, the BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles (1150 124th Ave. NE), will pay a $4,404.75 penalty.
In addition to the penalty, Coca-Cola will also perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) which will provide over $17,000 to make safety improvements to its refrigeration system. This SEP is part of the implementation of several safety improvements, on which the company plans to spend more than $400,000.
Coca-Cola did not notify local and state agencies until approximately 2 ½ days after the ammonia release was discovered. No known injuries occurred as result of the release.
The ammonia release and the failure to notify appropriate agencies are violations of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
According to Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, these laws help communities prepare for and respond to chemical accidents.
“In this case, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company was very lucky that no one was injured due to the ammonia release and the 2 ½ day delay in notifying first responders,” said Bussell. “When these kinds of incidents occur, it is very important that facilities immediately notify appropriate agencies so that the necessary steps can be taken to protect the public and the environment.”
Ammonia is considered an extremely hazardous substance and is listed as a hazardous substance under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
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