News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA requires Starkist Samoa to improve chemical safety
Pago Pago, AS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Starkist Samoa Co. (Starkist) to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act’s chemical safety requirements at the Starkist-leased, Samoa Tuna Processors’ facility. The facility is used to refrigerate tuna in Pago Pago.
“Ensuring facilities reduce the risk of releases of hazardous substances is critical,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We’re pleased that Starkist will invest in making the Samoa Tuna Processor’s facility safer as a result of this agreement.”
A 2016 EPA inspection found Starkist violated the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause by failing to safely manage anhydrous ammonia, a toxic chemical highly corrosive to skin, eyes and lungs. At the time of the inspections, conditions revealed the ammonia refrigeration system was not designed to meet safety standards. The inspection found several deficiencies, including:
- Failure to identify hazards that could cause accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia.
- Inadequate documentation that the facility’s refrigeration system was designed to prevent releases of anhydrous ammonia.
- Failure to develop an emergency plan to minimize the consequences of accidental releases.
- An insufficient operation and maintenance program for the refrigeration system.
The agreement requires Starkist to implement a series of corrective actions to make the facility safe and prevent releases of anhydrous ammonia.
The Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause requires owners and operators of certain industrial sites to design and maintain safe facilities and minimize the consequences of releases.
To find information on the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause, visit https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/rmp/general-duty-clause-under-clean-air-act-section-112r1
For more information on EPA’s National Compliance Initiative related to reducing risks of accidental releases at ammonia refrigeration facilities, please visit https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-reducing-accidental-releases-industrial-and-chemical