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U.S. EPA Orders Clean Earth and Solid Builders of Saipan to Clean Up Oil Spills

Release Date: 12/18/2002
Contact Information: Mike Ardito, U.S. EPA, (415) 972-3081

     SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week ordered Clean Earth and Solid Builders to clean up oil spills and contaminated soils at their shared storage yard in Puerto Rico, Saipan.

    The two companies have nine days to stop discharging oil from drums and containers and to remove all spilled oil and visibly contaminated soil from their adjacent facilities.  Once the immediate measures are taken, the companies are required to submit a work plan to the EPA and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Division of Environmental Quality that outlines how  to permanently prevent further discharges.  If the companies fail to do the work outlined in the order, the EPA will clean up the site and bill the companies for the cost.

     "Although some measures have been taken, the oil spill has not been cleaned up," said Michelle Rogow, an EPA emergency response coordinator for the Pacific Southwest region.  "This order provides specific direction to the companies to do the right thing and clean up the site to prevent further damage to the environment."

     On Dec. 2, the U. S. Coast Guard discovered the oil spill at the storage yard shared by Clean Earth and Solid Builders.  Due to its proximity to Outer Cove, American Memorial Park and the Pacific Ocean, the spill has the potential to affect waterways, fish, wildlife, sensitive environments and public property.  

     Before Typhoon Pongsona, the companies constructed a berm to try to contain the spill.  Last week the U.S. Coast Guard, the CNMI DEQ and the EPA inspected the site again and found that oil was still pooled on the ground and leaking had not been stopped.  Due to the urgency of the situation, the DEQ, the Coast Guard and the EPA agreed to issue the order under the Clean Water Act.

     "We are concerned about the contamination at this site, and are working closely with the EPA to assure this spill is addressed immediately," said DEQ's Deputy Director, Antonio I. DeLeon Guerrero.

     No fines were levied as part of this order.  However, further EPA action could be pending.

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