Valley Fruit III, L.L.C. - Executive Summary
Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policies |
The Valley Fruit emergency action policies are designed to provide the following:
1.) To protect the lives of plant personnel and the constituents within the zone of influence.
2.) For the purpose of mitigating personal injury.
3.) To minimize damage to property and the environment.
There is a Safety Committee that meets periodically to coordinate safety programs. The facility has two employees that are trained to the First Responder Technician Level in accordance with the HAZWOPER regulations. These two refrigeration technicians can assist the local emergency response team in the event of an incident.
Stationary Source and Regulated Substance
Location of Valley Fruit facility is 12 Hoffer Road in Wapato, WA. Engine Room #1 was constructed in 1988 and Engine Room #2 was constructed in 1995.
The facility uses ammonia as a refrigerant for the cold storage of agricultural products. A mechanical refrigeration syste
m is a closed system that cycles the refrigerant, ammonia, from liquid to gas and back again. As the refrigerant absorbs large amounts of heat from the source, the refrigerant changes from liquid to gas. At a different part of the system, the refrigerant releases heat as it is condensed back into a liquid. This system is referred to as having two sides: a low pressure or low side, where the refrigerant absorbs heat as it evaporates, and a high pressure or high side, where the refrigerant vapor releases heat as it is condensed back into a liquid. The system basically moves heat from the low side to the high side. Refrigeration is maintained by isolating the low side in some form of insulated enclosure where goods or processes can be chilled or frozen.
There are two separate ammonia refrigeration systems. Engine Room #1 contains a maximum intended inventory of ammonia of 10,700 pounds. Engine Room #2 contains a maximum intended inventory of ammonia of 16,700 pounds.
Worst Case Release Result Summary
The scenario with the greatest impact on the surrounding community was used as the "worst case" scenario. The ammonia released from Engine Room #2 has a much farther downwind distance than the largest release from Engine Room #1. Therefore, the worst case release of ammonia from Engine Room #2 will be used as the "worst case" scenario for this facility.
Scenario Description: Release of the maximum quantity of ammonia that can be stored in a single vessel in 10 minutes. The largest container is the Engine Room #2 high pressure receiver and the entire charge, 16,700 pounds, can be stored in this single vessel. The high pressure receiver is stored inside the Engine Room #2; therefore, the engine room was considered as a passive mitigation measure, resulting in a release rate to the outside air of 55% of the total rate per EPA's guidelines.
The total release rate to the room is 1670 pounds per minute; however, utilizing the enclosure
as a passive mitigation measure, the release rate to the outside air is 918 pounds per minute. This release rate was used to determine the endpoint distance to 200 ppm. The most pessimistic meteorological conditions were used: 1.5 meters/second wind speed, and F stability for a rural topography. Using EPA's RMP Guidance for Ammonia Refrigeration Facilities, Exhibit 4-4, it was determined that the release reaches off site and may affect population receptors.
Alternative Release Result Summary - Because both processes are designed, constructed, and operated in the same manner, the alternative releases are the same. In addition, because of the proximity, coupled with the limitiations of the population software, both release pose similar off-site consequences to the surrounding community; therefore, only one scenario is described in this summary. Because of the requirement to provide an alternative release for each process, section 3 shows two identical scenarios.
ion: This scenario assumes that the release is from a 0.25 inch hole in the pipeline, located outside the building. The release rate from the pipe is 134 lbs./min. Assuming that the release is shut off within one hour, 8040 pounds will be released. The meteorological conditions used were 3 meters per second wind speed, and D stability for a rural topography.
The downwind distance to 200 ppm was determined using EPA's RMP Guidance for Ammonia Refrigeration Facilities, Exhibit 4-5. The release reaches off site and may affect population receptors.
Accidental Release Prevention Program and Chemical-Specific Prevention Steps
The facility has a safety committee, responsible for the safe operation and handling of ammonia. Practices and procedures for proper ammonia handling are obtained through annually Emergency Response training that is specifically targeted toward ammonia refrigeration safety. In addition to plant safety policies for the safe handling of ammonia, there are ammonia
gas detectors in the cold storage rooms. These sensors activate an automatic dialer system at 25 ppm to notify the front office, Production Manager, and Refrigeration Engineer.
Five Year Accident History
The facility has had no reportable releases of ammonia during the last five years (July 1995 - July 2000).
Emergency Response Program
There are two trained emergency responders at the facility in order to assist the local emergency response team in the event of a release. These two responders are the refrigeration technicians who have received an initial 24 hour training program with 8 hour annual refresher training specifically relating to ammonia refrigeration safety. In the event of an emergency, the facility plans to call 9-1-1 and evacuate the buildings.
Planned Changes to Improve Safety
The facility is currently planning to conduct a complete Process Hazard Analysis of the ammonia refrigeration system in order to determine potential release scenarios and discuss mitigat
ion measures to either reduce the likelihood or the consequences of a potential release scenario.