Inspections at the two facilities in 2010 revealed the CAA violations and resulted in EPA Region 7 issuing an Administrative Compliance Order in January, 2011. Neither of Dyno Nobel’s Risk Management Programs (RMPs) fully complied with all regulatory requirements. Federal RMP regulations require facilities to have processes in place to safely store and handle hazardous chemicals.
In addition to the Risk Management Program violations, Dyno Nobel failed to immediately notify the National Response Center, the State Emergency Response Commission and the Local Emergency Response Committee of an accidental release of sulfuric acid that occurred at the Carthage facility on May 9 2012, violating CERCLA and EPCRA regulations, respectively.
The Carthage facility stored approximately 419,000 pounds of nitric acid, or 27 times the threshold quantity; 80,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, or eight times the threshold quantity; and 225,000 pounds of oleum, or 22 times the threshold quantity.
The Louisiana facility stored approximately 1.6 million pounds of anhydrous ammonia, or 160 times the threshold quantity. The facility also stored approximately 1.5 million pounds of nitric acid, or 100 times the threshold quantity.
Anhydrous ammonia is a toxic chemical and short-term exposure to high concentrations can cause death. Nitric acid is highly corrosive and can cause severe burns; it can be fatal on short exposure. Oleum reacts as a strong acid; as a liquid, it causes severe burns of skin and eyes.
“This agency works hard to make sure firms that store and handle these potentially dangerous chemicals follow the laws designed to keep employees and neighboring communities safe. Recent events remind us all how important is to take the required safety precautions,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This second substantial administrative penalty for Dyno-Nobel operations in the Great Plains signals the EPA intends to remain vigilant in enforcing laws intended to protect public health and safety.”