Puna Geothermal Venture, the operator of Hawaii’s sole geothermal power plant on the Big Island, has been fined $76,500 for Clean Air Act chemical safety violations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.
The fine was imposed as part of a settlement that EPA reached with the company, which failed to prevent accidental releases of hydrogen sulfide in March and April 2013.
During its inspection in August 2013, EPA found that the company “had not tested and inspected its equipment with the frequency consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, good engineering practices, and prior operating experience” at the Puna plant, which produces up to 38 megawatts of power for the Big Island’s electric utility.
Under the settlement, the company is required to follow the rules designed to minimize accidental chemical releases and update its Risk Management Plan, which spells out its procedures for responding to emergencies, among others.
“The goal of EPA’s inspections is to protect the health and safety of the workers at the plant and the residents in the community,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. “Our continued oversight will help ensure that it operates in a safe manner by complying with federal requirements.”
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