A Carson company will pay a $106,000 civil penalty stemming from the release of more than 65,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide in 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.
Eco Services Operations Corp. must also come into compliance with federal safety regulations as part of the settlement, according to the EPA.
“It is crucial for companies to take all necessary steps to maintain safe operations,” said Alexis Strauss, acting regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “EPA will continue to do whatever it takes to protect workers and residents from accidental releases.”
On Nov. 18, 2013, the facility released about 65,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere over a five-hour period during start-up operations and did not notify the appropriate officials until eight hours after the release began, according to the EPA.
Employees at a neighboring business called emergency responders, reporting upper respiratory pain and eye irritation. Eleven of these workers were transported to local hospitals, where they were treated and released that same evening, the agency reported.
The EPA’s 2014 investigation found that the facility failed to follow proper operating procedures; failed to immediately cease operations when multiple alarms sounded; failed to properly train employees relating to alarm response; and failed to conduct a thorough pre-startup safety routine which resulted in a valve that should have been opened, to remain closed.
Eco Services Operations produces and regenerates sulfuric acid used by nearby refineries and other industrial facilities. The facility is primarily surrounded by other industrial businesses, and is less than a half-mile from residential communities, EPA officials noted.
–City News Service