Ice Company Fined, Required to Remedy Clean Air Act Violations
PROVIDENCE (STL.News) J.P. Lillis Enterprises, Inc., D/B/A Cape Cod Ice, a cold storage warehouse and ice manufacturing facility that stores over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at its facility on the banks of the Seekonk River, was fined $90,000 an placed on federal probation for three years by a federal court judge in Providence today for repeatedly failing to implement a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to be executed in the event of an accidental release of anhydrous ammonia, an extremely hazardous substance.
The facility, located in an industrial area adjacent to residential area, and in the vicinity of an elementary school, was assessed civil penalties by the Environmental Protection Agency as far back as 2012 for failing to develop and submit an RMP, and since has repeatedly been found to contain equipment in need of repair to avoid a potential release of anhydrous ammonia.
Subsequent inspections by EPA, OSHA, and the East Providence Fire Department found the existence of corrosion on ammonia-carrying pipes and on the facility’s high- pressure ammonia receiver; the failure of corrosion-preventing insulation on the pipes; and inadequate inspection, testing, and maintenance of the ammonia piping and receiver.
Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus and Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation’s Division Boston Area Office announced today that in addition to a $90,000 fine imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Cape Cod Ice will, within 90 days, engage a qualified independent ammonia refrigeration consultant to conduct an audit that (1) evaluates Cape Cod Ice’s compliance with the Clean Air Act and address deficiencies identified by the EPA, OSHA, and East Providence Fire Department and (2) includes a required maintenance inspection program.
Acting United States Attorney Myrus said, “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with EPA to ensure that companies doing business in Rhode Island fully comply with the Clean Air Act. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause serious health issues. Today’s resolution will help to mitigate the risk of accidental release of ammonia by ensuring that Cape Cod Ice conducts a thorough third-party audit of its ammonia refrigeration system and implements an appropriate Risk Management Plan under the Clean Air Act.”
“Protecting Rhode Island communities from hazardous chemical releases is a priority for EPA” said Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. “Today’s sentence emphasizes the importance of companies abiding by Risk Management Plans (RMP), put in place to protect workers, emergency responders and the surrounding residents.”
Cape Cod Ice is required to submit to the United States Attorney’s Office and to United States Probation within 30 days of the completion of the audit an action plan to address the findings of the audit and a timeline of completion of actions to be taken by the company.
In January of 2017, EPA sent a letter to Cape Code Ice, urging Cape Cod Ice to ensure compliance with the RMP requirements. In April of 2017, EPA inspected the facility and again observed numerous violations of the RMP and PSM regulations, including the existence of corrosion on ammonia-carrying pipes and on the facility’s high-pressure ammonia receiver, and the failure of corrosion-preventing insulation on the pipes. In June of 2017, EPA also issued an Administrative Compliance Order to Cape Cod Ice.
In May of 2017, the East Providence Fire Department inspected the facility and issued a Notice of Violation finding, among other things, that ammonia piping was rusted and showed signs of excessive corrosion, with areas that had moldy insulation or no insulation; and that the ammonia receiver was corroded. The Fire Department ordered the facility to come into compliance. Cape Cod Ice has submitted reports to the East Providence Fire Department and to EPA indicating that it has taken steps to bring the facility into compliance.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly, with the assistance of Dianne Chabot, EPA Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel.
The matter was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.