NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER – Anheuser-Busch will pay $537,000 in penalties and conduct a safety review of all 11 of its breweries that use anhydrous ammonia, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.
The settlement resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention requirements and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the EPA said in a news release.
The safety review will occur at facilities located in New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Florida, New York, Virginia, Georgia and Missouri … READ MORE.
“Accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia are dangerous and can be deadly.” – EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Anheuser-Busch, LLC Required to Improve Safety at Eleven Breweries
Settlement is Part of EPA’s National Initiative to Reduce Chemical Accidents and Protect Public Health
EPA Press Office ([email protected])
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Anheuser-Busch, LLC resolving violations of the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention requirements and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Anheuser-Busch will pay $537,000 in penalties and implement a comprehensive safety review of all eleven of its breweries that use anhydrous ammonia. The safety review will occur at facilities located in New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Florida, New York, Virginia, Georgia, and Missouri.
“Accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia are dangerous and can be deadly,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to protecting workers, communities and first responders by ensuring companies like Anheuser-Busch both fund and maintain a comprehensive, up-to-date Risk Management Plan.
This settlement should send a clear message to companies managing extremely hazardous chemicals that EPA will hold companies accountable if they fail to adequately prepare for and prevent chemical accidents.”
Between 2016 and 2019, the EPA conducted inspections at three of Anheuser-Busch’s facilities located in Merrimack, NH; Fort Collins, CO; and Fairfield, CA. EPA also investigated an ammonia release that occurred in 2018 at Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins Facility, injuring two employees.
Under the settlement, Anheuser-Busch must hire an outside, independent expert to conduct a safety review at each of its 11 flagship breweries nationwide that use anhydrous ammonia in accordance with two of the most recent and comprehensive ammonia refrigeration industry standards and issue recommended actions based on those reviews.
Anheuser-Busch must also develop and implement corrective action plans based on those reviews. These terms will provide increased protection to approximately 172,000 people in the communities surrounding Anheuser-Busch’s facilities.
Many of the EPA’s allegations for all three facilities are related to Anheuser-Busch’s failure to comply with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices. For over 50 years, the ammonia refrigeration industry has published standards, codes, and guidance that outline measures to help prevent and mitigate accidental releases of ammonia.
These standards apply layers of protections to make facilities safer and are routinely updated to keep up with improving technology, newly identified hazards, industry operating experience, and/or incidents indicating more stringent hazard controls are needed. In addition, requirements for reporting releases and compliance with community-right-to-know laws provide emergency responders with critical information needed for a safe response.
When enforcing recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices under the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention regulations, the EPA looks to these industry standards of care for how to design and operate a safe ammonia refrigeration system.
Anhydrous ammonia is an efficient refrigerant with low global warming potential, but it must be handled with care because it is corrosive to skin, eyes, and lungs. Annually there are approximately 120 catastrophic accidents nationwide at facilities that make, use, or store extremely hazardous substances.
These accidents result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. EPA inspects these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents.
- Additional information on EPA enforcement of anhydrous ammonia at refrigeration facilities.
- Find information on chemical accidental prevention requirements under the Clean Air Act.
- More information on Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
- More information on EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative – Reducing Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities.