Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products’ Cottage Bakery facility in Lodi, California was found to be operating without air pollution permits or controls by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
The firm has been penalised $625,000 for its failures and has paid out $750,000 to install a thermal oxidiser to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, bringing the total payout to $1.3m.
The Clean Air Act settlement was lodged with the US District Court for California on June 26 and is subject to a 30 day comment period and final court approval.
Cottage Bakery had three bread ovens in operation between 1997 and 2009 without pollution controls, the agency found. The firm now has permits for its facility; issued in July 2010 following its August 2009 application.
Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest for EPA, said that the enforcement action required air pollution controls to be implemented “to protect the communities in the valley from illegal emissions.”
“Air quality is a critical human health issue in the San Joaquin Valley,” Blumenfeld said.
The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) outlines that large stationary sources of air pollution must obtain air quality permits and also implement technologies to reduce emissions.
A clouded nation
According to the EPA, the San Joaquin Valley the poorest air quality in the nation, and the Valley is in violation of the federal air quality standard for the ozone and particulate pollution.
Bakeries are known contributors to pollution as during the leavening stage of bread manufacturing, ethanol – a VOC – is generated and later released during the baking process.
***This article has been amended to say the total pay out was $1.3 million, not billion as previously written***