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EPA fines tree fruit companies


WENATCHEE, Wash. -- Tree fruit companies in Wenatchee and Yakima have agreed to pay fines for failing to meet risk management plan requirements under the Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



Dovex Fruit Co., Wenatchee, has been fined $134,613 for failing to meet risk management requirements for equipment maintenance since August 2008 and has corrected the violations, EPA said. In 2008, Dovex was fined $98,241 for failing to submit a risk management plan since 2003. Dovex was acquired by Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, in March 2010.



Clasen Family Co., a cold storage fruit company with facilities in Union Gap and Yakima, will pay a fine of $17,030 for failing to submit a risk management plan since 2004, EPA said. It will also spend at least $58,000 installing equipment to reduce the risk of ammonia releases and improves emergency response in case of accidental leaks, EPA said.



Both companies use more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, one of the most potentially dangerous chemicals used in refrigeration and agriculture. The Clean Air Act requires them to develop risk management programs which assess hazards and includes accident prevention and emergency response.



-- Dan Wheat



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