Aircraft Parts Maker To Pay $12,000+ for Not Reporting Hazardous Chemicals

GKN Aerospace Chemtronics, an aircraft equipment manufacturer in Kent, Wash., failed to properly report its use and storage of hazardous chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local agencies, alleged a consent agreement and final order issued by EPA. The actions violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the agency said.

"It's critical that companies report the storage and release of toxic chemicals--if they don't, public safety is jeopardized in an emergency," said Edward Kowalski, EPA's Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. "Companies need to minimize public risk from hazardous chemicals by following the law."

EPA alleges that in 2006, GKN failed to report its releases, waste management activities, and transfers of nitric acid, a dangerous substance that can cause severe burns and explosions, to the Toxic Release Inventory. GKN used approximately 12,000 pounds of nitric acid in 2006, exceeding the Toxic Release Inventory reporting threshold of 10,000 pounds, according to EPA’s order.

In addition, the agency alleges that in 2007 the company stored approximately 8,000 pounds of hydrofluoric acid and 34,000 pounds of nitric acid, but did not report this storage to the appropriate government agencies. The threshold for reporting storage of hydrofluoric acid, an extremely hazardous substance that can cause severe burns, is 100 pounds. The threshold for nitric acid is 1,000 pounds.

EPA noted that emergency responders rely on this information for their safety and to help protect nearby residents during an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake. Citizens also can access the information to find out what chemicals are being stored and used in their neighborhoods.

The company will pay a fine of more than $12,000, and has agreed as part of the settlement to perform a two-year project worth $50,000. It will provide the City of Kent with an emergency telephone notification system that can quickly warn the public in the event of a chemical release or other emergency.

For information on EPA's Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, visit www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/epcra/epcraenfstatreq.html. For information on EPA's Toxics Release Inventory Program, visit www.epa.gov/TRI/.

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