Gorges/Quik-to-Fix Foods Inc. - Executive Summary

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Accidental Release prevention and emergency response policies. 
    As a responsible member of the local business community, Quik-to-Fix Foods, believes that our co-workers safety and the communities safety are of the highest priority as we  pursue excellence in producing and marketing quality foods products.  To help us achieve a workplace that is safe and free from hazards i.e.,( chemical releases), we have developed different safety programs and policies. The QTF foods processing plant uses ammonia as a refrigerant, which is considered hazardous by OSHA & the EPA.  Because of the hazardous properties associated with ammonia it is necessary to observe the many safety precautuions in the handling of ammonia in our processes.  It is QTF's policy to adhere to all applicable Fed. and State rules and regulations while using guidance to best management practices as established by the Industrial Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR).  Safe handling of ammonia is the result  of safety f 
eatures built into the system, along with training and safe handling procedures observed by our refrigeration personnel.   
    The QTF Foods's emergency response to an accidental chemical release is based on OSHA"s requirements for emergency action & response planning.  We have contracted with an outside agency, certified in hazardous material response who will be contacted in the event of a release.    
Description of facility & the regulated substance handled.   
    The Quik-to-Fix Foods, Harlingen Plant is part of an independent, value-added meat company with a long and successful history of supplying products to foodservice operators through a national distribution system.  The regulated substance used at our location is ammonia.  Ammonia, due to its enviromental friendliness, ecomonic and energy efficiencies is used  within a closed system as refrigerant for temperature control and product freezing.  Access to our processes is restricted to authorized management personnel, plan 
t employees and contractors.   
    The maximum amount of ammonia that can be stored at this plant is 20,000 lbs.   
Worst Case Scenario.   
    Failure to our largest storage vessel when fil to the greatest amount allowed would result in the release of 4,800 lbs of ammonia.  The amount of ammonia release from the storage essel, would be in liquid from which would vaporize into the surrounding atomosphere.  Ammonia has a strong, pungent odor and is colorless in a gas or liquid state.  Ammonia is not considered flammable but upon reaching determined level of concentration within an enclosed space can be explosive.   
    The distance ro endpoint under the worst case conditions, ammonia could travel 1.4 miles before dispersing enough to no longer pose a hazard to the public.  This was determined using ALOHA modeling 5.200 program.   
Alternative Case Scenario    
    Due to possible over pressurization within the ammonia system, a relief valve system is used and designed to release an 
y pressusre build up to the atmosphere.  This system prevents an over pressure situation which may cause vessel or pope failure.  Ammonia released throught the relief valve system would be of vapor from.  Relief valves are designed to close when the over pressurization situation is controlled which can be done manually.  The distance to endpoint for the alternative scenaario is calculated at .2 miles.  This release has the possibility of extending beyond the facility boundary.   
General accidental release prevention program and chemical-specific prevention steps.   
    The ammonia system within the Harlingen Plant is in compliance with OSHA's Process Safety Management and EPA's Risk Management Program.  IIAR  guidlelines are implemented in the processes.  Key to the prevention program is our emergency cut off switches.  Operating procedures have been established to maintain a consistent and safe system.  The engine room is equipped with an ammonia detection system to alert personnel 
of any imposing danger.   
Five Year Accident History  
    On August 10th,1995 an ammonia release occured at the Harling Plant.  The release was caused by a pressure build up within the system causing a breach in a 6 inch liquid header pipe.  Cause of the pressure build up was two fold.  The first relating to the cleaning of a freezer coil before it was void of ammonia.  The second relating to a faulty weld of a cap on the end of a line.  Investigation concluded  that 1700 lbs were released over a 30 minute period.  Our Emergency Action and Response plan was activated and authroities contacted including the National Response Center.  Our ammonia contractor was notified immediately to make necessary repairs.  The ammonia system is continually monitored and upgraded to maintain integrity of the equipment.  Since this time we have not experienced any subsequent releases.   
Emergency Response Program   
    The QTF Foods, Harlingen Plant has a writtem emergency response plan outlining 
roles and responsibilities plant personnel are to follow in the event of a release.  Emergency response includes notification of our outside Hazardous Materials Response Team.  This is a team of individuals trained for containment and isolation during an ammonia release.  This team works closely with and has conducted joint training and drills with the local fire department and emergency planning coordinator.  Efforts to alert affected community members is coordinated through refrigeration and safety personnel, and these local agencies.    
Planned changes to improve safety   
    At present our ammonia system is manually operated.  Refrigeration  personnel are continually learning new system controls and design improvements through training and outside agencies such as our ammonia contractor and IIAR.  The system is continually being updated to ensure continued process control.
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