Meyer's Bakeries Inc., Little Rock, AR, will pay a $3.5 million penalty to settle claims it illegally released ozone-depleting refrigerants. According to government officials, it is the largest ever civil fine under a government program to control emissions that destroy the ozone layer.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation revealed that the company added refrigerant to its mixers and chillers without locating or repairing leaks. The government alleged that from 1995 to 1998, the company allowed emissions of chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochloroflurocarbons at facilities in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Kansas and Texas.

Clean Air Act regulations require all appliances used in industrial process refrigeration that have a refrigerant charge of more than 50 lb leak no more than 35% during a 12 month period. Companies are mandated to check equipment regularly for leaks and repair any leaks that are discovered. According to the EPA, service logs revealed the company had failed to fulfill this requirement.

Free Leak Manager software offered by PCE columnist Robert Johnson is designed to walk manufacturers through requirements for commercial and industrial leak-rate procedures. Software can be downloaded at