Tree Top Fined By EPA for Ammonia Release

As a grower-owned, locally-based co-op that sells juice from our state's most highly-regarded fruit, Tree Top apple juice is a wet dream for consumers-with-a-conscience in Washington. It's also the recipient of a healthy fine from the EPA for failing to report an accidental release of ammonia last year.

The ammonia release happened last July when a valve malfunctioned, sending 1,000 pounds of the toxic gas out of the company's Selah processing plant. As anyone who has ever cleaned a poorly ventilated bathroom can tell you, ammonia can sting like the dickens in small amounts and is deadly in larger quantities.

Tree Top says it reported the leak to the EPA, but the EPA says that report didn't come fast enough. As a result, the company has agreed to pay a $21,000 penalty and will be spending $85,000 more in upgrades to its computer equipment.

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