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New Hampshire Oil Storage Facility Faces EPA Fine for Lack of Oil Spill Prevention Plan

Release Date: 05/07/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 7, 2007) - A New Hampshire motor company faces fines for allegedly failing to plan for and guard against oil spills at its Colebrook facility and for failing to respond to EPA’s request for information about the facility.

According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office, the Peter Nugent Motor Company did not have a "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plan in place at its petroleum bulk storage and distribution facility, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

An inspector from EPA’s New England office inspected the Nugent bulk plant with a representative of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), and found that the company failed to construct adequate secondary containment around its aboveground storage tanks, truck off-loading area, and loading rack, leading to a risk of a spill to surface waters in the event of discharges during transfer operations or from equipment failure. The location of the Colebrook facility means that spills at the tank farm could contaminate the Connecticut River.

The Nugent facility also stores gasoline on-site and is located within the well radius of the Town of Colebrook’s sole source public drinking water supply serving a population of 1,200 people. This sensitive location means that spills at the bulk plant could lead to contamination of the public drinking water aquifer.

Following the inspection of the facility by EPA and NHDES, the company failed to respond to requests for additional information. In addition, the company failed to prepare an SPCC plan, did not construct the required spill containment systems, and failed to conduct integrity inspections on tanks in excess of 50 years old.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment, including to neighboring drinking water wells,” said Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils must follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”

Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into drinking water wells, rivers or streams. For the alleged violations of SPCC requirements, the company faces a maximum penalty of $157,500.

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