23 October 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Apache Nitrogen Products Inc. has agreed to pay penalties and complete environmental projects totaling $135,830 for failing to immediately notify federal, state and local authorities of a nitrogen dioxide release in July 1999.
One employee was seriously injured on July 6, 1999, when about 100 pounds of nitrogen dioxide were released at Apache Nitrogen's fertilizer plant in Benson, Ariz., after an expansion joint failed, according to Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA says the company failed to immediately notify appropriate authorities, as required by the Superfund law and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Under a settlement reached earlier this month with EPA, Apache Nitrogen will pay a $37,830 civil penalty and spend $98,000 on a "supplemental environmental project."
EPA says Apache Nitrogen will pave a dirt road that extends from the front gate to the fertilizer loadout area. That will reduce particulate matter at the facility by roughly 10 tons per year.
"Apache Nitrogen failed to immediately notify authorities when the release of this extremely hazardous chemical occurred, posing serious public health and environmental risks," says Keith Takta, EPA's Superfund director in the Pacific Southwest.
"When a business fails to quickly provide critical information to authorities, a community's ability to respond during an emergency may suffer," Mr. Takta adds.
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