Kern County Company to pay $214K Penalty for Violations of Clean Air Act, Emergency Notification Requirements

San Francisco CA (7/27/2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Grimmway Enterprises, Inc. for violations of the Clean Air Act and the emergency notification-related requirements of two other federal laws at its Arvin, California, facility. The company will pay $214,103 in civil penalties. This settlement helps protect the public, facility staff, and first responders from chemical accidents.

On August 2, 2019, approximately 2,335 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, which is designated as an Extremely Hazardous Substance, were released at Grimmway’s Arvin facility. A subsequent EPA inspection found Grimmway failed to notify state emergency authorities and the National Response Center immediately after the release. The inspection also revealed that Grimmway did not have required safety information for equipment, such as pressure relief valves; lacked required safety equipment, such as chlorine sensors or alarms; was missing some required operating procedures for its ammonia refrigeration equipment; and failed to have procedures in place to notify the appropriate agencies about chemical releases.

“It is paramount that facilities properly manage extremely hazardous substances to prevent dangerous incidents or face significant Clean Air Act penalties,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “When these incidents occur, first responders need to be notified immediately to ensure authorities are able to respond swiftly.”

Today’s settlement relates to violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program as well as the reporting requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. In response to EPA’s enforcement action, Grimmway returned to compliance and agreed to pay the civil penalty.

This settlement advances EPA efforts to enforce environmental regulations that protect citizens from harmful releases of extremely hazardous substances, especially in communities that may already experience disproportionate environmental risks. Grimmway’s facility is in a community that is disproportionally affected by environmental burdens, and incidents like this raise significant environmental justice concerns.

Contact Information: Joshua Alexander ( – 415-214-5940