Photo: Puerto Rico's Suiza Dairy Fined
Suiza Dairy has agreed to pay a penalty and make significant upgrades to settle Clean Air Act violations, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The case stems from violations at two Suiza Dairy Corporation dairies located in Rio Piedras and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, including two major releases of anhydrous ammonia from the Rio Piedras facility.
The Clean Air Act violations stem from Suiza’s failure of its general duty of care to identify hazards and to maintain safe facilities and its failure to comply with regulatory requirements for process safety management under the Clean Air Act, as well as Suiza’s failure to comply with administrative orders at both facilities.
As part of the consent decree announced today, Suiza will pay a penalty of $275,000 and will also spend approximately $3.75 million on improvement projects.
Suiza’s first accidental ammonia release from the Rio Piedras facility was in July 2005. Then in May 2007, approximately 1,146 pounds of anhydrous ammonia was released into the atmosphere causing at least 14 residents from the community located near the Rio Piedras Facility to require medical attention. At least nine of the people requiring medical attention also required an overnight stay in the local hospital.