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Supermarkets Fined For Refrigerant Leaks

CHICAGO - Refrigerants leaking from supermarket refrigeration systems have resulted in an $85,000 civil fine against a food chain and a pledge to retrofit 23 stores to non-CFC refrigerants.

The settlement was between Dominick's Finer Foods LCC, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to a statement from the EPA, Dominick's will retrofit 23 of its supermarkets in the Chicago area over the next two years. In addition, the store chain agreed to retrofit or retire the refrigeration systems in six additional stores in the Chicago area.

The announcement of the settlement came about a week after the chain announced the closing of 12 of the 113 Chicago-area stores by March 13.

The EPA said this is its "first settlement with a grocery store and the first settlement under the commercial refrigerant leak repair regulations of the Clean Air Act."

The EPA alleged that the chain "violated commercial refrigerant leak repair, testing, recordkeeping, and reporting regulations."

In addition to the retrofits and retirement, the chain said it would develop a plan to manage its refrigerants better and assess the company's facilities in the EPA's Energy Star Building Program.

Publication date: 03/08/2004

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