Kent’s Oberto pays penalty for failing to timely report hazardous chemicals storage

U.S. EPA fines company that stores diesel, nitrogen, lead

Oberto in the Kent Valley. COURTESY PHOTO, Oberto

Oberto in the Kent Valley. COURTESY PHOTO, Oberto

Oberto paid a penalty of $45,175 to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to timely report storage of several hazardous chemicals at its Kent facility.

The EPA announced the settlement with OSCCORP, Inc., formerly known as Oberto Sausage Company, in a Jan. 22 news release.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires annual reporting to support emergency planning efforts at the state and local levels and provide the public and local governments with information concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities, according to the EPA.

OSC manufactures beef jerky and other protein-based snack foods at its Kent facility, 7060 S. 238th St.

Oberto stored more than 10,000 pounds each of diesel, nitrogen and lead at the manufacturing plant during 2015 and 2017, according to the consent agreement. Oberto failed to timely submit the proper forms in each year by March 1 to the Local Emergency Planning Committee in Kent, the State Emergency Response Commission and Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority.

British Columbia-based Premium Brands Holdings bought Oberto in 2018.

“The violations occurred prior to Premium Brands Holding Corporation’s acquisition of the business from OSC in 2018, and as such, the EPA negotiated the settlement with OSC and the fine was paid by OSC directly to the EPA,” according to a statement from Oberto Snacks, Inc., emailed Thursday to the Kent Reporter. “Since the acquisition of the business in 2018, Premium Brands has operated the business through its wholly-owned subsidiary Oberto Snacks, Inc., and is and has been in compliance with all required filings. The Operations Department at Oberto Snacks continuously monitors these requirements and ensures compliance with all EPA regulations.”

The 102-year-old, family owned company kept its headquarters in Kent after the sale to Premium Brands. Oberto reached an agreement to sell its assets and operating division.

Constantino Oberto founded the company in 1918 in Seattle before Oberto moved its headquarters in 1978 to Kent. In 1997, Oberto built a new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant in Kent to replace a smaller facility.

Premium Brands owns food manufacturing and distribution businesses throughout Canada as well as California, Nevada, Ohio, Arizona, Minnesota and Mississippi.

The Kent City Council in 2017 approved renaming a short section of South 238th Street near the West Valley Highway to Oberto Drive after a request for the change from company officials as part of their plans to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

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