Sunwest Fruit Company, Inc. - Executive Summary

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Sunwest Fruit Company, Inc. 
755 Manning Ave. 
Parlier, CA. 93648 
(559) 646-4000 
Description:   Sunwest Fruit Comp., Inc. was incorporated in October 1988. We pack, ship and sell tree fruit (peaches, plums and nectarines) as well as citrus (oranges).  
Regulated substance:  To keep our product cool we use Anhydrous Ammonia refrigeration systems.  Anhydrous Ammonia is widely used as a fertilizer for crops and a refrigerant.  It is considered a self-alarming gas (due to the pungent odor it produces).   
Safety Features:  In order to maintain the highest level of safety with our refrigeration systems we utilize only certified, licensed companies in the design, manufacturer, installation and maintenance of our systems.  There are multiple safety features built into the system to keep risks at a minimum.  In compliance with installation codes this system has an emergency discharge into a tank of water to absorb the Ammonia.       In addition to mechanical safety pressure detectors and cont 
rollers this refrigeration system is also monitored by a computer system.  Abnormal changes in temperature, pressure, fire system, intrusions, etc. triggers Valley Alarm (a 24-hour/day monitoring alarm service company).  Valley Alarm will then notify plant personnel, police, etc. in the event of an alarm being tripped.  
Accident History:  We have not had a reported accident related to Anhydrous Ammonia at this facility in the last 5-years. 
Worst-Case:  When utilizing the DEGADIS modeling system for the worst-case scenario, the distance calculated was 0.5 miles to the toxic endpoint.  This is unlikely since there are several controls built into the refrigeration system to mitigate this type of release. 
Alternative-Case:  The EPA RMP COMP modeling system for the alternative-case scenarios calculated the distance to toxic endpoint was 0.2 miles.  The absorption recovery system is designed to handle emergency discharge relief.  Fire sprinklers also help to mitigate any release into the  
building and surrounding area.    
Emergency Response:   The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Fresno County and Fig Garden Districts) (559) 485-7500 would be the First Responders for an emergency response for this facility.  We have recently completed a walk-through inspection of Sunwest with the fire department and are currently working on training programs to familiarize the responders with our facility.  
Planned changes:    We work closely with the City of Parlier and their staff.  In addition to completing additional training with the first responders, we have invited the City of Parlier's Police Department and Public Works to participate in a planned evacuation drill.  Evacuations would be done in conjunction with the Parlier Police Department, Parlier Public Works, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, etc.  On March 10, 1999 we met with three emergency responding fire department teams, the City of Parlier Police Department, and the City of 
Parlier Public Works department to review our facility.  We provided them with a copy of our facility plot plan, identified the Anhydrous Ammonia receiver tanks, fire hydrants, drains, compressor room, etc.  We also reviewed problems associated with Anhydrous Ammonia, worst-case scenarios, alternative scenarios, alarm systems, absorption systems, evacuation requirements, isolating systems, etc.  We plan to have follow-up meetings with the first responders.
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