Lamb-Weston Inc. Pasco Plant - Executive Summary

| Accident History | Chemicals | Emergency Response | Registration | Source | Executive Summary |

Lamb-Weston, Inc. has potato processing plants located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Minnesota. Lamb-Weston is committed to providing its employees and the surrounding community with a safe and healthy environment.  The Risk Management Program is an integral part of our strong commitment to "sustainable development," which means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Sustainable Development requires reductions in the generation of wastes and pollutants, protection of clean air and clean water, sustainable protection of the land, and the wise use of energy.  It requires employee commitment, strategic thinking, innovation, the involvement of our suppliers, new technology and enhanced production processes.   
The Pasco, Washington processing facility produces various potato products such as french fries of various sha 
pes and seasonings.  This facility employs approximately 500 people.  The plant site consists of a main processing plant, raw potato storage buildings, general maintenance facility, primary water treatment facility, and refrigerated cold storage.  Activities are conducted at this site during all months of the year. 
The potato processing cycle includes a wide array of steps.  The plant purchases the majority of its potatoes from local growers.  Since potatoes have a single growing season, they must be held under controlled storage conditions.  Prior to processing, the potatoes are separated by size and processing specifications.  The inspected, washed, peeled, and hand-trimmed potatoes are cut, blanched, dried and fried.  The final products are frozen, packaged and prepared for shipping. 
The freezing process where finished products are conveyed through the freezer to be quickly cooled and frozen is made possible by refrigeration systems containing 26,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a 
n EPA-regulated chemical. Virtually all major food processors, including Lamb Weston, utilize anhydrous ammonia in large refrigeration or freezing plants and the chemical has been used in this capacity since the 1850's.   
The offsite consequence analysis conducted as part of the Risk Management Plan includes consideration of two ammonia release scenarios identified as "worst case release" and "alternative release."  The first scenario as defined by EPA states that "for substances that are normally gases at ambient temperature and handled as a gas or liquid under pressure, the owner or operator shall assume that the  maximum quantity in the largest vessel  is released as a gas over 10 minutes".  The alternative scenario is defined as "more likely to occur than the worst-case release scenario."  Anhydrous ammonia, as used by the Pasco, Washington facility, is a gas at ambient temperature and is stored as gas or liquid under pressure. 
The worst case scena 
rio was performed for the Freeze Tunnel Low Pressure Receiver, which is located inside and has the potential to contain a portion of the design volume of the Freeze Tunnel System.  The 16,270 pounds of ammonia was assumed to be released from the low-pressure receiver over a 10-minute period.  Other parameters included a wind speed of 1.5 meters per second, stability class of F, hole size of 8.42-inches, tank pressure of 15 psi, tank temperature of 00 F, highest temperature at the site for the last 3 years of 1090F, average relative humidity of 59%, and surface roughness category identified as the outskirts of town.  
The dense gas model SLAB was used for the analyses.  SLAB is a computer model developed by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory that simulates the atmospheric dispersion of denser than air releases.  The SLAB model can simulate an evaporating pool, a horizontal jet, a stack or vertical jet and an instantaneous volume release.  The modeling was performed using the horizontal jet o 
ption so that no vertical momentum was introduced.  This would be representative of a hole in the side of a vessel or pipe.  The results of the SLAB analyses for the worst-case scenario indicate off-site impacts. 
The alternative release scenario was performed for a <" hole at high pressure receiver conditions releasing liquid ammonia in a horizontal jet.  This release could represent a variety of release scenarios including the five described in the regulation (40 CFR Ch. I Part 68.28).  The release point is considered to be outside since there is piping at high-pressure receiver conditions outside the plant buildings.  The release rate was considered to be constant over a one-hour period.  The one-hour was chosen because it is the basis of the 200-PPM end-point for ammonia.  Other parameters included average meteorological conditions for the site, tank pressure of 165 psi, tank temperature of 900 F, wind speed of 8.0 mph, stability class of D (neutral), site temperature of 550F, rela 
tive humidity of 59%, and surface roughness category identified as the outskirts of town.  The dense gas model SLAB was also used for the analyses of the alternative release scenario, and off-site impacts were indicated. 
Lamb-Weston's accident prevention/loss control systems and policies involve a unified approach that integrates technologies, procedures, and best-management practices.  The OSHA-PSM and the EPA-RMP plans work together to assure that potential on-site hazards and off-site consequences are identified and controlled to the best of our ability, and that the processes are meeting health and safety objectives. 
The RMP Prevention Program is comprised of the 13 elements of OSHA's PSM program: Employee Participation, Process Safety Information, Process Hazard Analysis, Management of Change, Pre-Startup Safety Review, Operating Procedures, Hot Work Permits, Employee Training, Incident Investigation, Mechanical Integrity, Emergency Plannin 
g & Response, Contractor Safety, and Audits.   
Employee participation brought together people that knew and understood the system, from practical experience as well as their technical knowledge, to develop the Plan.  Process safety information is a collection of data that allows us to identify and understand the hazards posed by our inventory.  Representatives from our skilled work force and Lamb-Weston management, who understood the process being analyzed including the engineering behind the covered process and outside engineering consultants conducted the process hazard analysis.  This analysis identifies potential process failures that could result in an uncontrolled release of ammonia. 
In order to safely manage changes that need to be made to the processes containing ammonia, a system of checks and balances has been established.  This system will evaluate safety prior to the work being done, and provide a solid review of the system to assure that once started, it will run as desi 
gned.  Standard operating procedures are in place for each operating phase and are readily accessible to those workers who operate or maintain the process.  In addition, a policy and procedure are used to assure that proper safety precautions are taken for all personnel performing Hot Work.  The integrity of the refrigeration system equipment is maintained according to recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices and according to a well-documented preventive maintenance program. 
An extensive training program is in place for those employees and contractors involved in working on or around the process and covers operating procedures, health and safety hazards, emergency operations, and safe work practices.  The facility also has a training program for all employees and contractors regarding the hazards of the chemical and safe work practices to be used.  Part of this training includes monthly safety meetings as well as drills on spill response and plant evacuation.   
y incidents related to the ammonia refrigeration systems are promptly investigated even though the rule only requires investigation of those incidents, which resulted in, or could reasonably have resulted in, a catastrophic release.  All incidents are analyzed, resolved, and findings shared with affected employees.  In order to assure compliance with all elements of the prevention program, an audit is conducted every three years including a report of the findings and documentation of any deficiencies corrected. 
There have been no accidental releases at the Pasco, Washington Facility in the last five years from covered processes that resulted in deaths, injuries, or significant property damage on site, or known offsite deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage. 
The Pasco, Washington facility has an emergency action plan that has been coordinated (reviewed) with the Pasco Fire De 
partment and Franklin County Emergency Services. Both are members of the Local Emergency Response Planning Committee.     
The plan applies to all Lamb-Weston employees, visitors, and support service contractors performing tasks and activities as part of ongoing operations.  The purpose of the plan is to establish policies and procedures for protecting the health and safety of employees, contractors, and visitors, and to comply with all applicable federal and state regulations.   
Training of employees and contractors includes providing a copy of the plan upon initial employment at Lamb-Weston and reviewing it for their specific assignment, annual refresher training for current employees, and review for all whenever the plan is changed.  In addition, plant evacuation drills are conducted on a regular basis.  
The plan is comprehensive enough to deal with all types of emergencies specific to the Lamb-Weston Pasco, Washington facility and defines the following: 
7 How to conduct activitie 
s in a manner that protects the safety of employees, the public, and the environment 
7 Preferred means for reporting fires, hazardous materials incidents, medical, and any other emergencies 
7 Emergency escape procedures and emergency escape route assignments 
7 Procedures to account for all employees including contractors and visitors 
7 Names of agencies and persons to contact for further assistance, information, or explanation of the plan 
The Pasco, Washington facility takes seriously its responsibility for the safety of its employees, neighbors, and community.  Central to this responsibility are our programs to prevent the release of chemicals to the environment.  We will continue to implement these precautions and programs, to act as a responsible neighbor, and to maintain the goodwill of the community.
Click to return to beginning