Sargento Foods, Inc. - Executive Summary

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Sargento Foods, Inc., in Kiel, Wisconsin is a cheese processing plant with modern capabilities. 
This newly constructed facility (1993) occupies about 120,000 square feet, and is situated on a 40 
acre parcel of land. The property is located in a predominantly rural area, on the northern 
outskirts of Kiel. Adjacent properties to the northwest, north, northeast, east, and southeast are 
farmland or undeveloped. Commercial-type properties are located to the south, southwest, and 
west. Residential properties are located to the southwest beyond the commercial properties.  
The ammonia refrigeration system was designed and installed in accordance with Wisconsin 
Administrative Code COMM Chapter 43 and ATM standards. The system is a basic two stage 
mechanical refrigeration system utilizing ammonia as the refrigerant. The total maximum 
intended inventory of ammonia within the refrigeration system at any time is approximately 
20,000 pounds. The facility is equipped with sophist 
icated alarm and ammonia detection 
systems, as well as a computerized ammonia monitoring system.  
The worst case release scenario for this stationary source is the total quantity of ammonia 
contained within the refrigeration system. For this scenario to occur, several pressurized vessels, 
the piping system, and the engineering controls would all have to fail. The ammonia detection 
system is equipped to detect even minor ammonia releases and regulate system operation to 
prevent the release of the entire contents of ammonia. In the unlikely event of the release of all 
20,000 pounds of ammonia, the distance to the toxic end point could be up to 2.52 miles. This is 
based on the RMP Offsite Consequence Analysis and worst case parameters identified under the 
RMP rule.  
Several more likely alternate release scenarios were also evaluated for this ammonia system. The 
scenario resulting in the greatest offsite impact is the rupture of a 1/2-inch diameter pipe, causing 
ammonia to release under  
pressure. The release could have a toxic endpoint distance of up to 
2,350 feet.  
Sargento Foods is committed to protecting the health and well-being of their employees, the 
environment, and the community. Employee training programs are in place, including ammonia 
awareness training for all employees, emergency response training for the response teams and 
ammonia system training for the maintenance personnel. The facility has a chemical labeling 
program and a spill prevention plan. Outside contractors must follow written contractor policies. 
Hot work permits are required.  
Sargento Foods has never had an accident involving the ammonia system that caused deaths, 
injuries, property damage, environmental damage or sheltering in place. If an emergency were to 
occur, the local fire and hazardous response team would be notified and the emergency response 
procedure would be followed. The facility has an Emergency Action Plan, and employees have 
been instructed how to use the plan. Emergency  
drills are carried out several times each year. The 
Local Emergency Planning Committee has developed an offsite plan for the ammonia system and 
is aware of the procedures in case of a release or emergency situation. The local response teams 
are invited to participate in the annual Emergency Response refresher training, which is 
conducted each year at the Sargento facility. Qualified trainers are retained from Lakeshore 
Technical College.  
The ammonia system at Sargento Foods--Kiel facility is covered by the Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration (OSHA) Process Safety Management Plan (PSM) which requires the 
facility to manage system operations and develop emergency response and accident prevention 
programs. Sargento Foods has developed and implemented a PSM program for the Kiel facility. 
The PSM was audited in September of 1997. In response to the audit, a Process Hazard Analysis 
(PHA) was conducted in April 1998. The PHA resulted in improved tracking and documentation 
for trai 
ning and system maintenance programs. Training and maintenance schedules are now 
handled promptly and efficiently through the use of computer software. Additional personnel 
were trained for emergency response as a result of the PHA. 
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