Warwick, RI -Yesterday Mann Chemical Company made good on its pledge to plead guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to create a Risk Management Plan that would minimize risk of a hydroflouric acid spill and protect employees and the community from a fire from or leak of the substance.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed a fine of $200,000 and ordered the company to serve a term of 3 years probation for failing to adhere to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations which require a Risk Management Plan be developed, including a “worst case” response plan. Mann Chemical is also required to issue a public apology, according to a joint release from the office of United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Tyler Amon, special agent in charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.
“EPA’s Risk Management Program has a clear purpose — to prevent and prepare for releases of toxic and flammable substances that have the potential for catastrophic consequences. The sentence imposed by the court underscores the importance placed on protecting workers, emergency responders and communities,” Amon wrote in the announcement.
According to the Center for Disease Control, hydrofluoric acid is produced by dissolving hydrogen flouride in water. Hydrofluoric acid is used mainly for industrial purposes, and may cause skin burns, tissue damage and/or respiratory harm, even at low levels.
EPA regulations require facilities storing more than 1,000 lbs. of hydrofluoric acid to develop and implement a Risk Management Plan. An EPA inspection in June 2009 determined that Mann Chemical failed to develop and implement a Risk Management Plan while storing 92 drums of hydrofluoric acid in a concentration of 70 percent.
The inventory indicated that each drum weighed 500 pounds, for a total of 46,000 pounds of hydrofluoric acid.
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