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Inadequate Spill Plans Cost Company Tens of Thousands; Second Newark Company in Past Few Months to Pay for Spill Prevention Violations

Release Date: 11/29/1999
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(#99189) New York, New York -- Atlas Refining, Newark, New Jersey will pay $32,000 in penalties and will correct violations of the spill prevention provisions of the Clean Water Act, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The settlement closes out a complaint issued to Atlas in March of this year for not preparing and implementing a Spill Prevention Countermeasure and Control (SPCC) plan at its Lockwood Street facility. Atlas has agreed to pay $32,000 for its past violations, has since developed an SPCC plan and has agreed to take actions necessary to minimize the risk of an oil spill at its facility. EPA recently settled with another Newark company, Hudson Tank, for similar violations.

"These plans are critical to efforts to protect our waterways because they prevent spills and help contain and control them if they do occur," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "Spills are certainly easier to prevent than to clean up. A few relatively simple preventive measures taken now can avert a lot of headaches in the future."

In addition to paying the $32,000 penalty, Atlas Refining has capped pipelines that are no longer in service or on stand-by service for extended periods of time and is in the process of building secondary containment, usually consisting of a cement berm, around all if its large storage tanks. In addition, Atlas will replace its wooden fish oil tanks and perform upgrades of various pipelines.

In the other SPCC case settled this past July with Hudson Tank, EPA found this facility to have an inadequate SPCC plan. An inspection of the property also revealed that there was not adequate secondary containment, around its oil storage tanks and loading and unloading areas at the facility. Secondary containment is a barrier that would contain spills before they can reach a surface water. Hudson Tank, which has a total oil storage capacity of approximately 35 million gallons, has settled this complaint by installing proper spill prevent structures, updating its plan and paying a $38,000 fine.

Since December 1998, facilities across the region have been issued or paid fines for a total of $335,000 for violations of the SPCC requirements of the Clean Water Act. Any facility that stores more than 1320 gallons of oil or oil derivative in aboveground storage tanks must develop plans to prevent spills from occurring, and must implement these plans by installing secondary containment around storage tanks and other areas where oil could be spilled. These plans must be certified by a professional engineer and must be reviewed at least once every three years.

For more information contact:

Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: mears.mary@epamail.epa.gov