EPA inspection makes way for safer work practices at Iowa water treatment plant

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that the city of Fort Dodge, Iowa, has agreed to implement safer work practices at its John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant in an effort to resolve alleged violations of the Chemical Accident Prevention regulations under the federal Clean Air Act.

LENEXA, KS, Jan. 19, 2015 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the city of Fort Dodge, Iowa, has agreed to implement safer work practices at its John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant in an effort to resolve alleged violations of the Chemical Accident Prevention (CAP) regulations under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAP regulations are designed to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances and reduce the impact of releases that do occur.

According to an administrative compliance order on consent filed by EPA Region 7 in Lenexa, Kan., the Agency conducted an inspection of chlorine handling at the water treatment facility in August 2013, which revealed numerous violations. The inspection revealed that the facility failed to develop and implement a risk management program (RMP); certify annually that operating procedures are current and accurate; and develop and implement safe work practices; among other violations.

As a result of the consent order, the John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant must develop and implement an RMP by July 31, 2015, as required by federal regulations, and submit a plan to EPA. The rule requires water plants that use chlorine gas to follow the current chlorine industry standards and practices.

Section 112(r) of the federal CAA requires EPA to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use any of 143 listed extremely hazardous substances, above a specific amount. Facilities holding more than 2,500 pounds of chlorine gas in a process are required to comply with EPA's RMP regulations. The John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant routinely stores and uses three to four times that amount of chlorine gas.

In addition to preventing accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances, the water treatment plant's plan is available to help local fire, police and emergency response personnel prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies at the facility. Making the plans available to the public also fosters communication and awareness to improve accident prevention and emergency response practices at the local level.

See also:

"EPA launches innovative water finance center as part of White House investment initiative"

"EPA releases microbial risk assessment resource for waterborne pathogens"

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