BOSTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Jan. 19 that Hancock Foods, which owns a blueberry processing facility in Hancock, Maine, has agreed to comply with federal requirements designed to protect the public and first responders from hazardous chemicals.
According to the EPA, its inspectors found potentially dangerous conditions related to Hancock’s ammonia refrigeration processes. Anhydrous ammonia, an efficient refrigerant, actually benefits the environment. It’s use, however, must be strictly controlled because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. Additionally, under certain conditions the ammonia can be flammable.
"Hancock has worked cooperatively with EPA through this process and has worked hard to correct its violations," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "These air and reporting laws help protect public health, first responders, and our environment."
Hancock will pay $103,613 for its alleged violations of Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act and $5,110 for its alleged violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act – or Superfund law.
This is one of many EPA cases involving industrial refrigeration systems. The EPA started a national enforcement due to the number of dangerous ammonia leaks occurring with these systems.