Quantum Foods, Inc. - Executive Summary
Quantum Foods Risk Management Plan |
The administrative, management and operations staff at Quantum Foods takes pride in being a part of the local community, and understands that responsibility and commitment are integral components to the privilege of being considered a good neighbor.
To assure the preservation of this standing, the health and safety of the community, our employees and visitors, as well as the protection of the environment, are given first priority in all facets of our company operations.
Through uncompromising adherence to high safety standards, and open and ongoing dialogue with community groups and local authorities, we hope to maintain and enhance the good relationship that we've enjoyed with all of our neighbors since our facility opened in 1997.
Regulated Substances at the Quantum Foods Facility
Quantum Foods, located at 750 Schmidt Road in Bolingbrook, Illinois, operates as a processing, packaging, storage and distribution facility
for beef products.
The production and storage portions of the facility are maintained at low ambient temperatures by a standard, two-stage anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system. Anhydrous ammonia (CAS No.7664-41-7) is listed as a regulated substance under OSHA and EPA standards, and exposure to it through inhalation or physical contact is hazardous to life and health.
Approximately 18,000 lbs of anhydrous ammonia is utilized in the Quantum Foods refrigeration system. The refrigeration process does not require any additional introduction of anhydrous ammonia into the system beyond this initial charge quantity; that is, the ammonia in the system is reused with every refrigeration cycle, and there is no regular transferring of this substance in or out of the facility.
In the refrigeration process, the anhydrous ammonia is circulated through evaporator coils located at or above ceiling level throughout the refrigerated portions of the facility. Ambient air is mechanically circula
ted across the exterior surface of the evaporator coils. The temperature of the anhydrous ammonia within the coils is maintained at a lower temperature than the ambient air, thus allowing heat in the air to be absorbed by the anhydrous ammonia.
The anhydrous ammonia is subsequently drawn from the coils, compressed to a high pressure, high temperature gas, and circulated through condenser coils located on the facility roof. Water and outside air are circulated across the exterior surface of the condenser coils, cooling the anhydrous ammonia and condensing it to liquid state. The anhydrous ammonia liquid is pumped back to the evaporator coils, where the process is repeated as described above.
The anhydrous ammonia is contained in a closed-circuit system throughout the process. All piping, coils, vessels, and mechanical equipment in which the anhydrous ammonia is contained meet or exceed all applicable Industry design and installation standards and codes.
Under normal operations,
anhydrous ammonia is not released outside the system in any form or state. However, since portions of the system are maintained below atmospheric pressure, it is possible for microscopic amounts of air and non-condensable particles inherently contained in air to migrate into the system through pump seals, valve packing, and similar system components. These contaminants are routinely removed by automatic purging system. Small amounts of anhydrous ammonia are removed along with the contaminants, and are diluted with water and discharged from the system into the facility waste water system as ammonium hydroxide (CAS No. 1336-21-6) in trace quantities. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the reportable release quantity of ammonium hydroxide is 1,000 lb. Ammonium hydroxide is not listed as a Hazardous, Extremely Hazardous, or Toxic Substance or Waste under EPCRA or under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), or under the Resour
ce Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Under normal operating conditions, internal migration of lubricating oils occurs from mechanical components to other parts of the system. This oil must be removed periodically, and is manually drained by Quantum Foods maintenance employees following standard operating procedures outlined in the Quantum Foods Process Safety Management program described below. The drained oil, which contains trace quantities of anhydrous ammonia, is stored in sealed containers and is periodically removed from the site by a licensed, hazardous waste-hauling contractor.
Worst-Case Release and Alternative Release Scenarios
In compliance with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency Risk Management Plan, worst-case release and alternative case release scenarios have been calculated to determine the degree to which an uncontrolled release of anhydrous ammonia at Quantum Foods would adversely impact the surrounding community and environment. The cal
culations were made following the EPA's Offsite Consequence Analysis (OCA) method.
The selected condition for the worst-case release considers a rupture of the intercooler/pump receiver vessel, located in the facility Engine Room, with the vessel containing anhydrous ammonia pressurized to a liquid state at the level corresponding to the high-level safety cut-out point of the vessel. This level is prevented from being surpassed by operating procedures and high level alarm and cut-off controls.
At the internal vessel temperature of 25 0 F., this level is equivalent to approximately 16,500 lbs of anhydrous ammonia, and accounts for approximately 90% of the anhydrous ammonia held in the system.
It is assumed that the rupture is at the bottom of the vessel and will thereby cause most of the anhydrous ammonia in to be released in a liquid state. It is also assumed that the rupture is such that the all of the liquid will be drained from the vessel in a period of ten minutes, the anhyd
rous ammonia will be released from the vessel at the rate of 1,650 lbs/minute.
Impact on the surrounding community and environment is mitigated by the vessel's location within the facility Engine Room. The Engine Room is windowless, and has a volume of 45,000 cubic feet. It can be assumed that only a portion of the anhydrous ammonia will be in vapor or liquid droplet form and thus be airborne. Evenly dispersed, this portion will constitute approximately 1 lb. of anhydrous ammonia per 14 cubic feet. The remainder will collect in pools on the Engine Room floor, evaporating relatively slowly and contributing to the rate of release from the building to a lesser degree.
The Engine Room is mechanically ventilated. Assuming that all ventilation equipment is in operation at the time of release, resulting in over 40 air changes per hour, the estimated release rate from the facility into the surrounding environment is 560 lbs of anhydrous ammonia per minute.
The OCA assumes existing me
teorological conditions of a wind speed of 1.5 meters/sec., F stability class, 250 C (770 F) outdoor ambient temperature and 50% humidity. Under these conditions, the area affected by the release will extend from the point of release at Quantum Foods to a radius of 1.4 miles (toxic endpoint) in the surrounding community.
The selected condition for the alternative case release scenario considers a flange failure, weld crack, valve stem leak, or gasket rupture in the pressurized, intermediate temperature anhydrous ammonia pipe line located on the roof of the facility. The anhydrous ammonia in this line is in a liquid state under a pressure of 60 psig.
Assuming that the breach in the line is the equivalent of a =" hole, the release rate into the surrounding atmosphere is estimated to be approximately 310 lbs per minute.
For the alternative case scenario, the OCA assumes existing meteorological conditions of a wind speed of 3 meters/sec., D stability class, 250 C. (770 F.) outdoor amb
ient temperature and 50% humidity. Under these conditions, the area affected by the release will extend from the point of release at Quantum Foods to a radius of 0.3 miles (toxic endpoint) in the surrounding community.
Quantum Foods has implemented a Process Safety Management program to help significantly reduce the possibility of an uncontrolled release of ammonia from the facility. The elements of this program correspond with all standards set forth in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.111 and EPA 40 CFR 68 Subpart D, and include consistent, proactive measures toward maintaining the integrity and safe operation of the refrigeration system.
7 All employees involved in the operation and maintenance of the refrigeration system attend initial and refresher training courses focusing on the specific safety and health hazards of anhydrous ammonia, emergency operations, and safe work practices.
7 The mechanical integrity of all system components is maintained by daily inspections
and regularly scheduled preventive maintenance by the facility maintenance staff.
7 All employees and contractors are required to strictly adhere to standard operating procedures and safe work practices when operating or performing maintenance work on or in the vicinity of the refrigeration system.
7 Automated engineering controls are incorporated into the refrigeration system, and are designed to provide early warning of incipient danger, or to actually disable the system if a hazardous or potentially hazardous condition develops. These controls include safety cutout devices, relief valves, and ammonia detection sensors. The detection sensors are electronically linked to an off-site, 24-hour monitoring system that immediately alerts the local emergency response agency upon activation.
7 Quantum Foods has a comprehensive Management of Change procedure by which all anticipated modifications to plant operations, structure and/or mechanical systems are thoroughly analyzed in
regard to any potentially adverse effect they may have on safety of the facility occupants, the surrounding community, and the environment.
7 As an added safety measure, virtually all refrigeration system components are located remotely from the areas of primary activity at the facility, or are located in areas of restricted access. This significantly reduces the possibility of inadvertent damage to system components by forklift operations or other production or material handling activities.
Five year Accident History
There has been no accidental release of anhydrous ammonia at Quantum Foods since the facility was constructed and operations were initiated in 1997.
Emergency Response Program
All employees involved in the operation and maintenance of the refrigeration system attend training classes that focuses specifically on responding to spills and uncontrolled releases of anhydrous ammonia. Response equipment, including portable leak detectors, negative pressure respirat
ors, personal protective equipment, and a full assortment of tools are readily accessible to promptly abate and repair any incidental and minor releases of anhydrous ammonia.
Quantum Foods has developed a written contingency plan in conjunction with the Bolingbrook Fire Department and the Will County Emergency Planning Committee to address the occurrence of a significant release of anhydrous ammonia at the facility. Emergency notification procedures to response agencies and the community are clearly outlined in the plan, along with critical site and system information to control and abate a release.
Planned Changes to Improve Safety
Quantum Foods plans to continue its proactive approach toward safety assurance through continuous and attentive examination of new safety technologies in the refrigeration industry, and by exploring all new ideas and improvements that may enhance our existing programs. We intend to continue working directly with local emergency management and response
agencies in this process. The Quantum Foods incident prevention policies and procedures are subject to frequent and regular review by these agencies and our own safety team.