NORTH SMITHFIELD – Under a recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, N&D Transportation Company, Inc. has corrected alleged violations of chemical safety regulations and will pay a settlement penalty of $314,658 to settle claims that the company violated chemical accident prevention laws at its facility in North Smithfield.
The settlement resolves EPA claims that the company violated chemical accident prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act and chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
The business provide trucking and storage services from a 12 acre location at 100 Industrial Drive.
“EPA’s enforcement action, and the company’s subsequent actions in response to it, have resulted in a safer facility and helped protect human health and the environment in the surrounding community,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. “This settlement demonstrates that chemical accident prevention requirements of the Clean Air Act and EPCRA are in place for a reason and shows EPA’s dedication to working with facilities to ensure chemical safety compliance.”
EPA alleged that between 2015 and 2020, the company violated the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with chemical and process hazard safety requirements under both, “general duty clause,” and, “risk management program,” provisions, and violated EPCRA by failing to properly prepare and submit EPCRA chemical inventory reports for numerous chemicals present at its facility. “Extremely hazardous substances,” requiring reporting at the facility included formaldehyde, toluene diisocyanate, peracetic acid, and sulfuric acid.
The N&D facility is situated near a tributary of the Blackstone River as well as many businesses and residences, the closest of which is under a tenth of a mile away. An EPA inspection of the facility reportedly raised concerns regarding safety. Significant allegations included the failure to ensure incompatible chemicals were stored separately and to keep water-reactive chemicals away from the sprinkler system, failure to submit a Clean Air Act risk management plan, failure to conduct a process hazard analysis for the warehouse operation, and failure to submit complete, timely EPCRA “Tier II” reports with all state and local planning and response authorities. One of EPA’s most serious claims is that, until the inspection, it appeared local and state fire and emergency response personnel were largely unaware of the presence of EHSs and many other chemicals at the facility, thereby putting at risk first responders should they have been called on to address an emergency at the site.
The case is part of an EPA Chemical Accident Risk Reduction National Compliance Initiative. EPA Region 1 coordinated with other federal, state, and local agencies to bring the facility into compliance, including the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the North Smithfield Fire Department. EPA works with these and other stakeholders to improve safety and compliance at chemical warehouse facilities, according to a release from the agency.