The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Columbus Manufacturing Inc. to pay $700,000 in penalties on Tuesday. The settlement also requires the South San Francisco company to spend up to $6 million to update its refrigeration system.
The violations are the result of two accidental anhydrous ammonia leaks that occurred at the 493 Forbes Ave. site in South San Francisco in 2009. The leaks were the result of damages to the facility's refrigeration system. 17 people were taken to the hospital in the aftermath.
The EPA released this statement about the fines:
"Columbus has had several violations of various environmental statutes both in connection to the anhydrous ammonia releases as well as for deficiencies in how it managed the integrity and safety of its ammonia refrigeration systems at both its South San Francisco and Hayward facilities."
Columbus Salame will upgrade its refrigeration systems to a hybrid system that is reportedly safer technology.