Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Idaho, must pay a $52,100 fine levied by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory program for its failure to publicly disclose chemical use and disposal.
The facility used several hundred thousand pounds of nitric
acid as a cleaning agent in 2009. When treated, nitric acid produces nitrate
compounds, which the dairy processor released to the local wastewater treatment
plant. According to TRI rules, Idaho Milk Products was required to report toxic
chemical releases, but the EPA says that the company did not report the
treatment and disposal of nitric acid and nitrate compounds. Nitric acid can
harm the eyes, skin, respiratory system and teeth.
“Communities have a right to know what chemicals companies
are using and potentially releasing into the environment,” says Kelly Huynh,
manager of the TRI program at EPA in Seattle. “Accurate and timely numbers from
companies are the foundation of these rules so citizens have access to the most
The dairy has submitted the required reports to EPA and the
state of Idaho to resolve the violations and agreed to pay the $52,100 penalty.
Under the TRI program, companies that use certain toxic
chemicals are required to report annually about releases, transfers and waste
management activities involving toxic chemicals at their facilities. The TRI
program falls under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act,
which aims to inform communities and citizens of chemical hazards in their
Idaho Milk Products processes tens of millions of pounds of
milk annually at its Jerome facility. For more information on the Toxics Release
Inventory Program, visit www.epa.gov/tri.