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Environmental Enforcement: DeMoulas Super Markets to Pay $33,736 in Chemical Reporting Case

DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. has agreed to pay $33,736 to settle claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it failed to follow federal chemical reporting requirements at a Massachusetts warehouse.

According to a complaint filed last month by the EPA’s New England office, the company failed to submit a “material safety data sheet” for hazardous chemical Genetron 22, or a list of chemicals including Genetron 22, held at company’s Market Basket perishables distribution warehouse in Andover, Mass.

The data sheet should have been submitted to the state emergency response commission, local emergency planning committee, and the local fire department with jurisdiction over the warehouse. Failure to supply the documentation was in contravention of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know to Act, the EPA said.

The Act requires the owner of a facility to report within three months information about hazardous chemicals present at the facility in amounts that exceed minimum threshold levels. Records indicated DeMoulas acquired the chemical on March 4, 2008.

Genetron 22 is a chemical containing chlorodifluoromethane and is used to service refrigeration systems.

The EPA said that DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. also failed to file required chemical inventory forms on March 1, 2008, for the calendar year 2007 for sulfuric acid, considered by the EPA an “extremely hazardous chemical,” and for lead, gasoline, diesel fuel, and R507, all considered “hazardous chemicals.”

Sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and presents significant risks from contact, including lung damage from inhalation of vapors, according to the EPA. Diesel fuel is a flammable liquid and vapor and poses health risks from contact, including skin irritation and lung damage. Lead presents a reactivity risk and a threat to response personnel from contact, including skin and lung contact.

This week the EPA announced that its New England office was cracking down on improper handling and storage of chemicals in the region after a string of cases where chemicals had been mishandled.

Pharmco Products, a Connecticut company that deals in commercial alcohol and chemicals, agreed this week to pay $164,109 to settle claims leveled by the Environmental Protection Agency that it violated sections of the Federal Clean Air Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

And in February, Southern Maine Specialities – a metal finisher and electroplating company in Maine – and the Massachusetts-based Lamb & Ritchie roofing company agreed to pay over $38,000 and $32,000 respectively for violations of incorrect storage and handling of chemicals.

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