Ag Processing Inc (AGP), a farmer-owned cooperative involved in the acquisition, processing and marketing of grain products, has agreed to pay a $96,588 civil penalty to the United States for its failure to develop and implement a Facility Response Plan for its soybean processing facility in Mason City, Iowa.
According to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., the agency inspected the Mason City facility in January 2009. The inspection found that although the facility has a documented storage capacity of more than 1 million gallons of soy oil and/or fuel oil (actually 5.6 million gallons of capacity) it had not submitted a Facility Response Plan to EPA, as required by the federal Clean Water Act. The facility also had not developed or implemented a facility response training program or a drill/exercise program, as required by the regulations.
The Mason City AGP facility is located within 300 feet of a perennial stream, Cheslea Creek, which flows through two small lakes, then into Willow Creek and the Winnebago River. Without a Facility Response Plan, the Mason City facility was not adequately prepared for a worst-case discharge to the nearby waters, including potential negative impacts to wetland habitat areas.
AGP’s settlement includes a schedule of steps that the company must take to submit to EPA a Facility Response Plan for the Mason City facility, and an agreement to conduct a revised evaluation of whether a Facility Response Plan is required for its facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
EPA’s civil enforcement action is part of the Agency’s efforts in Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations) to make certain that owners and operators of the largest oil storage facilities—with capacity of 1 million gallons or more—are prepared to respond to worst-case discharges, accidents and emergencies, and to protect sensitive environments that could be threatened by such incidents.