Southwest Foods Ice Plant - Executive Summary
SouthWest Foods Ice Plant is owned and operated by Brookshire Grocery Company. SouthWest Fods Ice Plant produces 8lb. and 25lb. bags of ice for sale in Brookshire's. The ice is produced under the Premier Mountain label. The SouthWest Foods Ice Plant uses anhydrous ammonia to keep ice frozen. There is approximately 19,500 pounds of ammonia on site. The plant was built in 1994 and has never experienced any type of release that required any type of reporting. The main hazards associated with anhydrous ammonia at this site would include a release of the entire system to the atmosphere. because of the safeties that are in place at this facility, this would be very unlikely to occur, unless there was an event of major catastrophic relevance, such as a tornado. |
The entire facility is behind an eight-foot fence with barbed wire at the top. The facility is also under guarded security 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Relevant offsite receptors include residential neighborhoods, industrial
businesses, and retail businesses. Off site consequence analysis for a worst case scenario would be approximately 0.8 of a mile. This event could possibly occur in the event of an anhydrous ammonia release from the receiver, which holds approximately 8,300 pounds of ammonia at 75% capacity. The release would be liquid which would then gas off. The alternative scenario would be the one to more likely occur than the worst case scenario. It would involve the release of ammonia from a 1/4" hole in an ammonia pipe. This scenario would release ammonia at at rate of approximately 100 pounds per minute at 155psi until valves upstream and downstream are valved out.
The SouthWest Foods Ice Plant maintenance personnel have over 35 years of experience with anhydrous ammonia. Each maintenance employee is trained every six months in donning SCBA, ammonia respirators, and level A suits. Also, each maintenance employee is trained in confined space rescue. SouthWest Foods Ice and Brookshire Grocery Com
pany have a very close relationship with the LEPC, Tyler Fire Department, and Hazmat Team. We invite them to visit our facility on an annual basis to ensure they will be familiar with the facility if there is an ammonia release. The Tyler Fire Department and Hazmat Team have recognized the experience that Southwest Foods Ice personnel have with respect to anhydrous ammonia response, and have requested that the Hazmat Team backup SouthWest Foods Ice personnel in the event of an ammonia release. This confidence in our maintenance personnel is particularly important to top management. Any and all risks associated with the release of anhydrous ammonia are taken very seriously by Brookshire Grocery Company and SouthWest Foods Ice, and thus are held accountable for the safe operation of the anhydrous ammonia system. If the ice plant was to experience a large release, the LEPC, Tyler Fire Department and Tyler Police Department will coordinate any evacuation of affected persons at businesses,
All other SouthWest Foods Ice employees, other than maintenance personnel, are annually trained in emergency evacuation if there is an anhydrous ammonia release. Furthermore, any new hires of SouthWest Foods Ice are trained, before they begin work, to evacuate the premisis in the event of a release. Windsocks have strategically been placed outside the facility, so that employees can determine the travel of release, and go upwind of the release.
SouthWest Foods Ice Plant has ammonia equipment in an enclosed room that is vented to the atmosphere. All piping is vented to the roof, so that if there were a release, the release would be outdoors. SouthWest Foods Ice Plant has a "Emergency Anhydrous Ammonia Control Box" outside the facility that would allow the entire system to be shut down manually from a safe distance of a large release.
SouthWest Foods Ice was required in 1997 to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Standard for Process Safety Management. An OSHA comp
liance officer viewed this plan in 1998 during a surprise inspection of our dairy that concentrated on anhydrous ammonia and the safeties that are in place to ensure the safety of all employees. All recommendations made by the compliance officer were quickly carried out all three anhydrous ammonia locations and recognized by the agency as going above and beyond the general requirements of the PSM Standard. Furthermore, SouthWest Foods Ice has implemented and continues to conduct a preventative maintenance program to ensure that any and all hazards are addressed to reduce the risk of an anhydrous ammonia release.
If there were a release of anhydrous ammonia, SouthWest Foods Ice has a Pollution Crisis Management and Emergency Response Contingency Plan in place. This plan is updated at least annually, or whenever deemed necessary by management or the safety and environmental coordinator. This plan was created to enhance the safety our employees and the local community. SouthWest Foods Ice
Management, Supervision, Security, LEPC and the Tyler Hazmat Team all have copies of this document. Furthermore, it is always available to employees in different areas of the plant for reference or a refresher on what to do in the event of an ammonia release. This plan consists of an emergency notification sheet that has important pager and home telephone numbers listed so that personnel may respond to the situation as it dictates. This is coordinated with the LEPC, police departments and fire departments that would respond to the situation as necessary regarding any type of evacuation plan.
This plan also consists of qualifications and duties for ammonia specialists. Ammonia Specialists are members of the maintenance group. Each Specialist is assigned responsibilities to carry out in the event of a release. These employees have been trained in these roles and have demonstrated the ability to react and follow through with these responsibilities.
The plan also consists of numbers for t
he LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Commission), SERC (State Emergency Response Commission), NRC (National Response Commission), and the TNRCC (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission). There is also an MSDS for anhydrous ammonia in this plan. This plan was also viewed and approved by an OSHA compliance officer. SouthWest Foods Ice is always looking for ways to limit the possibility of a major release of anhydrous ammonia. We strongly feel that our relationship with our employees, the responding emergency units, government agencies, and the local community has increased awareness of the hazards that exist at this facility. Working together with these different entities has made SouthWest Foods Ice a safer place for our employees to work, and a safer place for those who live work and play in this community.