Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC in Savona, NY and Twin Lakes Chemical Inc. in Lockport, NY are facing fines for violations of the Clean Air Act rules governing chemical safety and risk management, federal officials said.
Among the violations, the companies failed hazard identification and equipment safety requirements. Finger Lakes LPG agreed to pay a $154,000 penalty and Twin Lakes Chemical agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty for the violations, said officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Chemical facilities are required to establish risk management plans in order to prevent and prepare for chemical accidents,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA’s Regional Administrator. “By taking steps, such as properly labeling chemicals, properly training employees, and providing employee emergency health care, chemical facilities can protect the communities where they are located.”
Risk management plan requirements under the Clean Air Act include developing a hazard assessment to identify potential effects of an accidental release of chemicals; an accidental release prevention program that includes safety precautions, safe operating procedures, maintenance and employee training measures; and an emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and local response agencies should an accidental release occur.
Hazardous chemicals are located in many types of facilities in our communities. Emergency responders need to know where hazardous chemicals are used and stored, how to assess the risks associated with those chemicals and how to ensure community preparedness for accidents or incidents that may occur. Many facility owners and operators rely on local resources for emergency preparedness and response, including first responders, emergency medical services and hazardous materials response teams. It is important for local officials, first responders and facility owners and operators to work closely together to ensure chemical safety and security and the protection of local communities.
The first settlement is with Finger Lakes LPG Storage, the owner and operator of a facility that receives and stores liquefied petroleum gas for wholesale customers. The EPA identified several areas of the facility’s operations that had been in violation of the Clean Air Act, including by failing to comply with hazard identification and equipment safety requirements such as updated and accurate piping and instrumentation diagrams, among other violations.
Finger Lakes LPG Storage will also spend an estimated $158,000 to purchase equipment and vehicles for three local fire departments in the area near the facility: The Savona Fire Department, the Bath Volunteer Fire Department in Steuben County and the Watkins Glen Fire Department in Schuyler County.
The second settlement is with Twin Lakes Chemical, a chemical manufacturing plant which, at the time of EPA’s inspection, was using and storing 32,000 pounds of phosgene. Phosgene is a toxic industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. At room temperature it is a deadly gas.
The EPA identified several areas of the facility’s operations in violation of the Clean Air Act, including failing to adequately support, secure, and label phosgene equipment and pipes; and failure to comply with hazard identification and equipment safety requirements. All of the violations ended up addressed by the company prior to the settlement.
Twin Lakes Chemical will also spend an estimated $100,000 to purchase hazardous materials equipment for the Lockport fire department.
After the violations were brought to light by the EPA, the companies began working with EPA making the necessary improvements. Twin Lakes Chemical has certified that it is now in compliance with the risk management plan provisions of the Clean Air Act, and Finger Lakes LPG Storage has retained a third-party auditor to address its remaining compliance concerns.