E. & J. Gallo Winery reached a settlement to resolve chemical safety risk management violations at its wine production facility in Fresno, CA.
E. & J. Gallo Winery, the world’s largest privately held wine company, will pay a $57,839 civil penalty and spend $350,000 to reduce the risk of chemical accidents at its facility, said officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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In 2015, EPA inspectors found violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan regulations. The violations included deficiencies in the plant’s hazard assessment, process safety information, operating procedures, mechanical integrity program, compliance audits, incident investigations, and emergency response program.
“Facilities that store and use hazardous substances must follow federal requirements to protect communities and the environment from potentially catastrophic accidents,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Today’s action will bring investment in safety improvements to this Fresno facility.”
Proper implementation of a risk management plan helps facilities that store large amounts of regulated hazardous substances prevent and prepare for chemical accidents. The E. & J. Gallo Winery’s industrial refrigeration system uses large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, a toxic chemical highly corrosive to skin, eyes, and lungs.
E. & J. Gallo Winery addressed all of the identified violations. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to complete a supplemental environmental project valued at $350,000 to enhance safety equipment and procedures at the Fresno facility. The project includes installing new valves and upgrading emergency shutoff switches allowing an operator or emergency responder to remotely shut down the ammonia refrigeration systems, including in an emergency situation.