The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday announced a settlement resulting in a fine of $82,613 with Hawaiian Ice Company over violations of the Clean Air Act.
Specifically, EPA said the company violated the act’s chemical release prevention and reporting requirements at its ice production and distribution facility in Kalihi. In addition to the penalty, Hawaiian Ice has made facility safety improvements to protect the public and first responders.
“Facilities’ highest priority must be to properly manage the handling of extremely hazardous chemicals to prevent dangerous incidents,” said Amy Miller, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in a news release. “In Hawaii, EPA continues to focus our inspections and enforcement on those facilities that handle large amounts of extremely hazardous substances and have poor chemical management practices to prevent and minimize chemical accidents.”
On April 24, 2017, a release of ammonia from the facility’s 6,500-pound ammonia refrigeration system resulted in the evacuation of more than 100 people from surrounding businesses and watercraft, EPA said.
Although there were no serious bodily injuries, according to the EPA, several people were evaluated for irritated eyes, breathing difficulties, and other symptoms.
EPA performed an inspection of the facility in 2018 and found safety design violations of the General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act.
Among the violations that the EPA found were:
>> The failure to install ammonia detection alarms at several necessary locations.
>> That the ammonia machinery room was not sealed to prevent ammonia from escaping to other occupied parts of the facility.
>> An oil drain line was not capped or equipped with a self-closing mechanism, presenting an ammonia release hazard if the valve were to be accidentally opened.
Hawaiian Ice Company on its website describes itself as “Oahu’s go-to choice for all of their ice supply needs.” The company said it is a locally owned and operated ice manufacturer, wholesaler, and supplier in business since 1998.
“Following the General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act helps decrease the likelihood of chemical releases at facilities that store extremely hazardous substances and minimizes the consequences of accidental releases,” said the EPA in the news release. “Hawaiian Ice has addressed the cited violations, and these corrections will help protect human health and the environment by reducing the risk of future accidental chemical releases.”