(The Center Square) – Two companies based in Yakima agreed to pay $194,302 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Congdon Packing Company, LLC, and D&H Properties Yakima, LLC failed to keep safety information up to date, adequately address process hazard analysis recommendations, perform a timely process hazard analysis every five years, provide initial safety training for three employees and replace and maintain process equipment for safe operation, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Clean Air Act requires facility owners or operators handling or storing 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia to develop and implement a risk management plan to prevent accidental chemical releases.

Congdon previously operated a cold storage facility in Yakima where more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia were stored between at least April 3, 2009 and April 1, 2021. The facility was owned by D&H Properties.

Congdon terminated operations at the facility in October 2021 and D&H Properties subsequently sold the ammonia refrigeration facility and removed ammonia from the refrigeration system.

“Ammonia is extremely dangerous, so risk management planning can save people’s lives,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski said in a Monday news release. “By creating a solid plan and making it central to their business operations, companies can reduce the chances of a chemical release and lower risks to plant workers, first responders and the surrounding community – and minimize the risk of a hefty EPA penalty.”

One of the main goals of the Clean Air Act is to achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards limits on atmospheric concentration of six pollutants that cause smog, acid rain and other health hazards.

Both respondents neither admitted nor denied the specific factual allegations, according to the consent agreement.

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