Chiquita Processed Foods - Salem Processing - Executive Summary

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Chiquita Processed Foods, is a Wisconsin based, vegetable processor with two vegetable canning/freezing plants located in Oregon.  Chiquita Processed Foods, Salem Processing, is located in West Salem, Oregon and processes fresh vegetables from growers into frozen and canned vegetables for human consumption. Anhydrous ammonia, used as a refrigerant in the freezing process, and chlorine gas, used for bacteriological control, are located at this facility and are invaluable components in vegetable processing.  Chiquita Processed Foods is aware that both anhydrous ammonia and chlorine require certain safe handling precautions to prevent unnecessary human and environmental exposure reducing the threat to our employee's health as well as the health of our neighbors and the community.  
Regulatory Background 
OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations are defined by OSHA 29 CFR 19 
10.119. EPA's Risk Management Program (RMP) is defined in Section 112R of the Clean Water Act (40 CFR 68). These regulations establish the requirements of both the PSM and RMP programs for facilities that are either specifically designated by the rules or for facilities that possess certain chemicals in excess of threshold quantities. Ammonia  and chlorine are the chemical used at this facility in quantities that trigger the RMP requirements. The RMProgram further assigns various program levels to facilities with specific Standard Industry Codes (SIC's). Frozen vegetable processors are designated as Program level 3 facilities because they are identified as SIC 2037 industries. 
Under these regulations, facilities are required to develop a complex multi-element safety program for related systems and plant operations as well as, under the RMP rules, an analysis of the off-site consequences that could result from a catastrophic release.   
Major tasks defined in these regulations address th 
e following areas: 
1. Employee Participation    9. Process Hazard Analysis 
2. Process Safety Information    10. Hot Work Permits 
3. Mechanical Integrity    11. Employee Training 
4. Contractor Safety    12. Emergency Response Plans 
5. Operating Guidelines    13. Compliance Audits 
6. Pre-start Up Safety Review    14. Risk Management Plan 
7. Management of Change    15. Off-Site Consequence Analysis 
8. Incident Investigation    16. Trade Secrets 
Facility Background 
Chiquita, Salem Processing, began as canning facility in about 1933 when it was owned and operated by the Cleary-Hillman Packing company. In 1944 the plant was destroyed by fire and had to be rebuilt. In 1971 this facility became part of Agripac Inc, with the consolidation of two grower cooperatives then known as Blue Lake Packers and the Eugene Fruit Growers Association. The Agripac cooperative expanded and processed vegetable and fruit until 1999 when the company was split apart and sold. This facility became the Chiquita Processed Food's Salem Proc 
essing facility in April of that year. Over the life of this plant, it has been continually improved, expanded, and key systems have been replaced or rebuilt. 
Facility Siting and Human Factors 
Chiquita, Salem Processing, includes about 14.3 acres of property located in an industrial zone in West Salem, Oregon. The plant proper, which includes the regulated chemical processes, is bordered by industrial complexes on the north, east, and south sides. An office building and a residential area, are opposite the street on the west side. Several factors, including facility siting and human factors, were considered during the preparation of the facility's Process Hazard Analyses and the Offsite Consequence reviews. 
Chemicals and Processes 
Chiquita, Salem Processing, uses anhydrous ammonia as the refrigerant to operate the refrigeration components and has approximately 33,741 total pounds of ammonia in the system. The system includes: an engine room that house compressors and controls, condense 
rs and high pressure receivers located outside the plant building, evaporators, low pressure receivers, cold storage rooms, freeze tunnels located in process areas, and necessary interconnecting piping within the system. 
Chlorine gas is injected into the plant's process water to augment the city supplied water and provide increased bacteriological control. The plant uses a standard, vacuum demand, water injection, chlorinating system. Chlorine is sourced from a single one ton DOT certified cylinder with a backup cylinder in close proximity. Although there are generally two chlorine cylinders on site, only the one cylinder is attached to the system at any given time. Actual in stock quantities of either ammonia and chlorine may vary with process usage and restocking schedules. 
Off-Site Consequence Analysis 
In an attempt to facilitate communications between operators of RMP eligible facilities and their neighbors, the RMProgram requires that scenarios be developed to determine the distan 
ces a chemical could travel, under varying circumstances, and still potentially cause injuries or environmental damage.  
Qualified facilities must conduct multiple offsite consequence analyses (OCA's) and report, to the government and to the public, the potential consequences of the accidental release scenarios studied. A typical OCA consists of two elements; a worst-case release scenario and an alternate release scenario. The EPA has defined a worst-case release as the rapid release of the largest quantity of a regulated substance, from a single point, that could result in the greatest distance to an endpoint during weather conditions most apt to augment the plume distance. An alternate scenario is defined as a release that also reaches an endpoint offsite but is more likely to occur than the worst-case scenario. A chemical's endpoint is defined as the distance a chemical cloud could travel before dissipating to the point that serious injuries from short-term exposures should no longe 
r occur. The distances to the various endpoints may be determined using sophisticated computer models or from the more conservative lookup tables provided by the EPA. Scenarios for this facility were determined using the EPA's lookup tables and are likely to reach further than those provided by a computer simulation. 
Worst-Case Scenario -- Ammonia: While it is not believed that a release of the magnitude required by the RMProgram criteria would likely occur, Chiquita Processed Foods, Salem Processing, has chosen to assume their worst case ammonia release scenario would be a rapid release of the entire contents of the plant's refrigeration system. We have assumed this would result from the major breaching of one of the plant's interconnected high pressure receivers (HPR's) such as might occur from mechanical impact and damage. Factors limiting the potential for this magnitude of a release include the location of the receivers away from normal traffic areas and safeguards such as operati 
ng guidelines, maintenance, policies, and procedures. In accordance with the RMP rules, worst-case scenarios are based on a fixed set of weather factors that would accentuate the distance a chemical plume would travel. Based on historical weather data, actual weather conditions for this area would likely decrease the extent of the endpoint of this chemical from the reported table-top exercise. 
Worst-Case Scenario -- Chlorine: Like ammonia, a chlorine release of the magnitude portrayed in this facility's worst-case scenario is unlikely. Although there could be up to 4,000 total pounds of chlorine in the two cylinders, they are not interconnected. The worst-case chlorine scenario assumes that the contents of both cylinders would be released. It would take a major incident such as large fire at the facility or intentional sabotage to release both cylinders simultaneously. Factors limiting the potential for this magnitude of a release include the location of the receivers away from normal  
traffic areas, a central location allowing constant observation, and safeguards such as operating guidelines, maintenance, policies, and procedures. There is no history of any releases from the chlorine cylinders at this facility. 
Alternate Scenario -- Ammonia: The required release determined for the alternate, more likely to occur, scenario would involve a release of ammonia from one of the system's pressure relief valves. This resulting release would be significantly smaller than the worst case, with the distance to the endpoint barely reaching any receptors off the facility's property. This release scenario, while not frequent, has occurred in the past and was felt more likely to occur in the future than the worst-case. To make the release scenario reach off-site receptors, it was assumed that the relief valves in question would also be located on one of the high pressure receivers. In reality, based on previous incidents, this release would most likely be contained on-site and/or n 
ot affect anything off-site. As part of the facility's maintenance guidelines, the plant has a valve maintenance program that would further decrease the likelihood of a significant release. 
Alternate Scenario -- Chlorine: The release exercise for the alternate chlorine scenario was assumed to have originated from a release of the cylinder's pressure relief valve. The release area, in this scenario, would match the extents of the alternate ammonia release and affect much of the same receptors. The facility's emergency response teams are equipped and trained in the use of the special tools they possess to mitigate chlorine releases. 
Accident Prevention & Emergency Response Policies 
The safety of our employees and our neighbors depends on the manner in which our employees handle our chemicals as well as our standard operating and maintenance guidelines and the safeguards we utilize at our facilities. Chiquita Processed Foods practices and adheres to state and federal safety regulations in 
cluding, confined space, lockout/tagout, hot work permits, safe chemical handling, and emergency response programs. Contractors are also required to adhere to these rules and regulations. 
All employees are informed of the chemicals used at the facilities and any risks that may be associated with those chemicals. Material Safety Data Sheets are available to every employee if there is any question as to the proper precautions that should be observed in the handling of the chemicals. Any Chiquita Processed Foods employee that handles chemicals as part of their job function is further trained in the proper handling of those chemicals. Accesses to chemical storage areas are restricted to authorized facility employees, authorized management personnel, and authorized contractors.  
Emergency Response Program 
Each Chiquita Processed Foods plant has written emergency response programs to provide guidelines for handling various types of emergencies including the release of a chemical such as anhy 
drous ammonia or chlorine. In addition, certain fulltime employees are trained in the procedures to respond to and mitigate chemical emergencies and releases. Each plant's emergency response plan prescribes the procedures to be followed by our employees during an emergency including evacuations and notifications of management, on-site response teams, and governmental agencies. In the case of a release of a toxic chemical that could reach off the facility's property, local emergency response agencies would be immediately notified of the release. Communications between the plant's Emergency Response Coordinator and the local emergency responders regarding such factors as the chemical released, extent of the release, and wind direction will determine the need for evacuation or shelter-in-place of our neighbors. Notifications and evacuations of neighbors will be conducted by the local emergency responders. 
5-Year Accident History 
The RMProgram requires that all releases of a criteria chemi 
cal which occurred within the previous five years and caused any damages, injuries, or evacuation off-site, be reviewed. Although there have been small ammonia releases from the refrigeration system in past years, these have been very minor and did not put our neighbors or the surrounding area in jeopardy of injury or damage.  There have been no chlorine releases. Every incident, regardless of how small, is reviewed and steps are taken to prevent the incident from reoccurring.  
At Chiquita Processed Foods, protecting the community and the environment are high priorities. Chiquita Processed Foods accepts responsibility for maintaining and operating facilities that are an asset to the communities in which they are located. This responsibility includes taking reasonable steps toward protection against injuries or environmental contamination and damage. 
Equipment and procedures at all facilities are inspected continuously and environmental protection programs reviewed periodically  
to assure operation within established guidelines. Chiquita Processed Foods capital improvement projects often include safety and pollution control equipment and operational techniques that are needed to operate in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. 
In situations where regulations are lacking, Chiquita Processed Foods plant managers are encouraged to set site objectives whenever there is a potential risk to safety or the environment. These objectives may include the actions necessary to help prevent, reduce, abate, or control noise, air, or water pollution and to accomplish the goal of being an asset rather than a nuisance to the community.  
As future changes and improvements are made, the safety of our employees and neighbors will always be foremost on our minds.
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