Jerome Dairy Processing Facility Failed to Publicly Disclose Chemical Use and Disposal
Idaho Milk Products, Inc., a dairy processing facility in Jerome, Idaho, failed to publicly report the use and disposal of several hundred thousand pounds of toxic chemicals in violation of community right-to-know laws, according to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company has corrected the violations of the Toxics Release Inventory Program and will pay a fine.
“Communities have a right to know what chemicals companies are using and potentially releasing into the environment,” said Kelly Huynh, manager of the TRI program at EPA in Seattle. “Accurate and timely numbers from companies are the foundation of these rules so citizens have access to the most current information.”
Idaho Milk Products processes tens of millions of pounds of milk annually at its facility in Jerome.
The facility used several hundred thousand pounds of nitric acid as a cleaning agent in 2009. When treated, nitric acid produces nitrate compounds, which the company released to the local wastewater treatment plant. Idaho Milk Products is required under the Toxics Release Inventory to report toxic chemical releases. According to EPA, the company failed to report the treatment and disposal of nitric acid and nitrate compounds in 2009.
Nitric acid can harm the eyes, skin, respiratory system and teeth.
The company has submitted the required reports to EPA and the State of Idaho to resolve the violations and agreed to pay a penalty of $52,100.
Under the federal Toxics Release Inventory Program, companies that use certain toxic chemicals are required to report annually about releases, transfers and waste management activities involving toxic chemicals at their facilities. The Toxics Release Inventory Program falls under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, which aims to inform communities and citizens of chemical hazards in their neighborhoods.
For more information on the Toxics Release Inventory Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/tri