Trucking company reaches $300,000 settlement with EPA over Clean Air Act
April 22, 2021
N&D Transportation has reached a six-figure settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating Clean Air Act chemical accident prevention provisions.
According to the EPA, Smithfield, R.I.-based N&D Transportation has corrected alleged violations of chemical safety regulations and will pay a settlement penalty of more than $300,000. The violations occurred at the trucking company’s facility in North Smithfield, R.I. Claims against the company allege violations of chemical accident prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act and chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
N&D Transportation allegedly violated the Clean Air Act by not complying with chemical and process hazard safety requirements under both “general duty clause” and “risk management program” provisions. Additionally, the EPA claims the company violated the notification act by not properly preparing and submitting chemical inventory reports for several chemicals at its facility. Those chemicals include formaldehyde, toluene diisocyanate, peracetic acid, and sulfuric acid.
According to EPA documents, the general duty clause “makes the owners and operators of facilities that have regulated and other extremely hazardous substances responsible for ensuring that their chemicals are managed safely.” The clause has been in force since 1990. Also a part of the 1990 Clean Air Act, facilities that use extremely hazardous substances must develop a risk management plan that identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident, identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident, and spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.
Specifically, the EPA alleges that N&D Transportation failed to ensure that incompatible chemicals were stored separately per the Clean Air Act.
The agency also alleges that water-reactive chemicals were not stored away from the sprinkler system. Furthermore, the EPA states that local and state emergency response personnel, including the fire department, did not know there were extremely hazardous materials at the facility. If an emergency situation were to occur at the facility, response teams would have been put at greater risk.
“EPA’s enforcement action, and the company’s subsequent actions in response to it, have resulted in a safer facility and helped protect human health and the environment in the surrounding community,” Deborah Szaro, EPA New England acting regional administrator, said in a statement. “This settlement demonstrates that chemical accident prevention requirements of the Clean Air Act and EPCRA are in place for a reason and shows EPA’s dedication to working with facilities to ensure chemical safety compliance.”
Issues were discovered during an EPA inspection. N&D Transportation’s facility is near a tributary of the Blackstone River and several businesses and residences, according to the EPA. The closest structure is less than a tenth of a mile from the facility.
N&D Transportation’s inspection and subsequent settlement is just one of many cases resulting from the EPA’s Chemical Accident Risk Reduction National Compliance Initiative. The EPA worked with several federal, state and local agencies when brining the company into compliance with the Clean Air Act. LL