BADGER — Large agricultural retailer New Cooperative Inc. will pay $20,000 in fines after the Environmental Protection Agency found they violated the Clean Air Act.
A press release from the EPA says the agency entered into this settlement to “address alleged chemical accident prevention and preparedness violations under the Risk Management Program of the Clean Air Act.”
The settlement agreement with New Cooperative Inc. alleges numerous violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements at the Badger facility.
These violations were documented during an inspection of the facility in August, 2018 and relate to the company’s management of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.
Accidents at facilities with anhydrous ammonia can be catastrophic, resulting in death, serious injuries, evacuations and other harm to human health and the environment.
The EPA says the alleged violations at the Badger facility include the company’s failure to:
- Update and maintain the facility’s management system and assign a qualified person to the overall responsibility of the facility’s Risk Management Program
- Ensure its ammonia processes were designed or maintained in conformance with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (e.g., an inoperable emergency shutoff cable on a supply vessel, inadequate emergency signage, a vessel needing corrosion protection, and an illegible data plate on a 26,000-gallon ammonia storage vessel)
- Properly conduct hazard reviews and address any deficiencies or hazards found in a timely manner
- Update the accident history of the facility’s Risk Management Plan and correct the plan to reflect two prior accidents
The EPA said that New Cooperative Inc. will also install emergency electronic shutoff systems at no fewer than 13 of its facilities. These systems will include emergency stop buttons and a remote transmitter for an employee to reduce response time to a potential release. The cost to implement these systems is $80,000.