Dyno Nobel Settles EPA Case Over Oregon Facility's Releases

The $939,852 being paid by the company as part of the settlement will purchase emergency response equipment for authorities in Columbia County, Ore. Dyno Nobel also will file revised estimates of its total ammonia releases and will update its Risk Management Plan.

EPA announced June 25 that Dyno Nobel, a Delaware-based chemical manufacturing company, has agreed to correct environmental violations associated with ammonia releases from its Deer Island, Ore., facility. The company will pay a civil penalty of $492,000 and provide local communities with $939,852 in emergency equipment. EPA alleged that Dyno Nobel violated federal laws meant to protect the public and first responders from dangerous chemicals such as the anhydrous ammonia manufactured and stored at the facility, which makes anhydrous ammonia and related chemical products used for fertilizer, refrigerant, and other agricultural and industrial applications.

Among the 14 counts in its complaint against the company, EPA alleged Dyno Nobel violated both the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by its failure to immediately report to federal, state and local agencies large, unplanned ammonia releases in 2010 and 2015, as well as its failure to accurately estimate and report the total amount of routine ammonia releases from the facility to EPA's publicly available Toxic Release Inventory. EPA also charged Dyno Nobel with failing to comply with Clean Air Act Section 112(r) requirements that facilities storing more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia maintain adequate Risk Management Programs to ensure their workers are adequately trained and that ammonia processes are properly operated and maintained to minimize the risk of a spill or accidental release.

"Facilities that store and use hazardous materials like anhydrous ammonia have a special obligation to follow regulations designed to protect our communities and environment from potentially catastrophic consequences of accidents," said Chris Hladick, regional administrator for EPA Region 10. "Failure to comply with the law puts first responders and members of the surrounding community in harm's way."

The $939,852 being paid by the company as part of the settlement will purchase emergency response equipment for authorities in Columbia County, Ore. Dyno Nobel also will file revised estimates of its total ammonia releases, update its Risk Management Plan, and hire a third party to audit its compliance with chemical release reporting, emergency response, and risk management regulations.

The case fell under EPA's Chemical Accident Risk Reduction National Compliance Initiative, an agency effort focused on reducing the risk to human health and the environment by minimizing the likelihood of chemical accidents.

Dyno Nobel released a statement about the settlement, saying it concludes EPA's investigation and resolves outstanding issues related to past emissions at the SHOR facility. The statement said Dyno Nobel will purchase $931,500 in equipment for the Columbia Fire & Rescue and the Scappoose Rural Fire District as a Supplemental Environmental Project to enhance the ability of the local first responders to handle emergencies throughout the community.

"We have worked cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the past eight-plus years to address these matters. Independent of its work with EPA, Dyno Nobel has implemented extensive upgrades to the facility to better manage emissions and improve our reporting protocols," said Jeffrey Droubay, the company's senior vice president/Legal and Business Affairs. "The health and safety of our employees and communities in which we operate is our first priority, and we thank EPA for allowing us to incorporate the Supplemental Environmental Project into the settlement."

The settlement is in addition to a penalty Dyno Nobel paid in 2018 for an untimely emission report relating to a release that took place in 2015. The statement describes the facility as having been built in 1965 and operated by several oil and chemical companies before it was purchased by Dyno Nobel in 2004.