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Dyno Nobel Information Sheet

(Seattle, WA - June 25, 2019)  – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Dyno Nobel, a Delaware-based chemical manufacturing company, has agreed to correct environmental violations, to pay a civil penalty of $492,000 and to provide local communities with $939,852 in emergency equipment.  EPA alleges that Dyno Noble violated federal laws meant to protect the public and first responders from dangerous chemicals like the anhydrous ammonia manufactured and stored at the company’s St. Helens, Oregon facility.

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Overview of Company

The Dyno Nobel facility in St. Helens, Oregon, makes ammonia and nitric acid (used in fertilizer) under high pressure and temperature. The facility also makes related chemical products used for fertilizer, refrigerant, and other agricultural and industrial applications.

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EPA alleges that Dyno Nobel:

  • Violated the emergency notification requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 103 and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) section 304 in connection with two ammonia releases (2010: 24.5 tons; 2015 6.6 tons);
  • Violated the CERCLA 103/EPCRA 304 continuous release reporting requirements and the EPCRA section 313 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements relating to the under-reporting of ammonia emissions from a specific point source (Vent Scrubber); and
  • Violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) section 112(r)(7) risk management program requirements of 40 CFR Part 68.

Note that the 2015 ammonia releases were the subject of a criminal plea agreement in February 2018 that includes a $250,000 penalty for one felony CERCLA count for late reporting, and a requirement to conduct a source test of ammonia emissions from the Vent Scrubber (source of the 2015 releases) and install fence-line ammonia monitoring.

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Injunctive Relief

The Consent Decree imposes the following compliance-related injunctive relief:

  • Conduct source testing and submit revised continuous release and TRI reports that reflect the test results.
  • Submit a revised Risk Management Plan.
  • Conduct a third-party compliance audit for compliance with the CERCLA/EPCRA emergency notification and continuous release reporting requirements; the EPCRA TRI reporting requirements; and the CAA 112(r)(7) risk management program requirements.
  • The compliance audit provisions include a requirement to promptly correct all audit findings.

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

Exposure to high concentrations of anhydrous ammonia - commonly used in industrial refrigeration, agricultural, and cold storage facilities - is immediately dangerous to life and health and can lead to serious lung damage and even death.

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The Consent Decree requires payment of a civil penalty of $492,000.  In addition, the settlement requires Dyno Nobel to purchase and donate $939,852 in emergency response equipment to local emergency response agencies (turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus) as a Supplemental Environmental Project.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on June 24, 2019 is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.  Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website

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For more information, contact:

Bill Dunbar
EPA Region 10
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 155, M/S 12-D12
Seattle, Washington 98101

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