GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Muskegon-area chemical company is facing a federal penalty for failing to report an ammonia release on Labor Day to the proper authorities in a timely manner.
The 1400-pound leak at Sun Chemical is well over the federal limit that requires an immediate report. By law, any release into the air of a hazardous gas over 100 pounds must be reported to federal, state and local government agencies right away.
The failure by the Egleston Township company to immediately file a report was the result of a new person handling environmental safety being on the job for only a week, said the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
He didn't know the company was supposed to notify all the government agencies right away. He made the calls the next day, according to a report the company made to the DEQ.
There were few employees there on Labor Day and no one was hurt, the report said. The leak bled out over a six-hour period.
Company officials put patrols at the edge of the plant property, 5025 Evanston, to monitor the ammonia and found levels so low that the DEQ said there was no apparent threat to the surrounding neighborhood.
Still, the failure to immediately report an ammonia leak that large is a violation of the law. The US Environmental Protection Agency could penalize the company for it.
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