PROVIDENCE, R.I. – According to documents filed today in federal court in Providence, Mann Distribution, LLC, of Warwick, also known as Mann Chemical, LLC, is expected to plead guilty to a federal charge of violating the Clean Air Act for failing to develop and implement a Risk Management Plan to minimize the chance of release of hydrofluoric acid from its Warwick facility, and to protect workers, the community, and emergency and first responders in the event of a release or fire involving the chemical.
At sentencing, the court will be asked to impose a fine of $200,000 and to order the company to serve a term of 3 years probation for failing to adhere to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations which require a Risk Management Plan be developed, including a “worst case” response plan.
According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound that contains fluorine. It can exist as a colorless gas or as a fuming liquid, or it can be dissolved in water. When hydrogen fluoride is dissolved in water, it may be called hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is used mainly for industrial purposes, and may cause skin burns, tissue damage and/or respiratory concerns.
EPA regulations require facilities storing more than 1,000 lbs. of hydrofluoric acid to develop and implement a Risk Management Plan. An EPA inspection in June 2009 determined that Mann Chemical failed to develop and implement a Risk Management Plan while storing
92 drums of hydrofluoric acid in a concentration of 70%. The inventory indicated that each drum weighed 500 pounds, for a total of 46,000 pounds of hydrofluoric acid.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division Boston Area Office.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. A Plea Agreement filed with the court stipulates that at sentencing the Government and Mann Chemical will recommend that the court impose a fine of $200,000. In addition, Mann Chemical will be required to issue a public apology.
The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly and Special Assistant United States Attorney Peter Kenyon of the Environmental Protection Agency.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/