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Massachusetts Company Faces Fines for Oil Pollution Prevention Violations

Release Date: 10/11/2011
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, 617-918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – October 11, 2011) The operators of a bulk fuel-oil storage and distribution facility at Boston’s Logan Airport face a penalty of up to $177,500 from EPA for failing to demonstrate that they are able to respond and react to an emergency oil spill as required by federal clean water laws.

According to a complaint filed recently by EPA’s New England office, Swissport Fueling, Inc. of Dulles, Va. and BOSFuel Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas did not properly execute its emergency spill response plan at the Logan facility, in violation of the oil pollution prevention regulations under the federal Clean Water Act.

The Logan facility, which has been operated by BOSFuel since 1999, has an above-ground oil storage capacity of 7.3 million gallons and an underground capacity of 487,000 gallons. Swissport Fueling operates the facility on a day-to-day basis.

Federal law requires that certain sized facilities having the potential for spills, take every step possible to prevent, before they occur, oil discharges to the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans primarily through preparing and using Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. Since oil spills do happen, the law recognizes that facilities should know how to respond as quickly as possible to minimize environmental damage and threats to public health and nearby infrastructure.   Therefore federal law also requires detailed and coordinated emergency response planning for those facilities that can be expected to cause “substantial harm” to the environment, should a spill occur. 

Swissport Fueling and BOSFuel are responsible for managing more than one million gallons of fuel oil storage. Because storm drains at the Logan facility empty into Boston Harbor and Boston Inner Harbor, any oil spills could have substantial consequences, greatly impacting the local environmental, economy and commerce.  Given the facility’s large storage capacity and its proximity to fish and wildlife and sensitive areas, it is required to have a Facility Response Plan (FRP) as well as a SPCC plan.

In the event of a spill, the FRP regulations require the companies to have emergency response procedures in place, adequate employee training and appropriate spill response equipment, as well as a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up a release.

EPA’s penalty complaint stems from a May 31 unannounced exercise carried out by representatives of EPA, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard at the Logan facility. The objective of this exercise – a simulated oil spill - is to determine whether a facility can successfully respond to an oil release. As a result of the May exercise, EPA determined that the companies could not properly put in place the facility’s FRP and its personnel were not adequately trained in carrying out the response plan, resulting in an “unsuccessful” overall rating for the exercise. 

Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from large and small oil storage facilities and result in pollution of New England waters. Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plans and FRPs are critical to ensuring that such spills are prevented and, if they do occur, adequately addressed. EPA will continue to pay unannounced visits to facilities throughout New England.

More information:

SPCC Requirements (
http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm)

FRP Requirements (
http://www.epa.gov/

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