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Oil Spill Preparedness Project Eases Clean Water Act Penalty Paid by Derby, Vt. Company

Release Date: 02/06/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 6, 2008) - Fred’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc., a petroleum storage and distribution facility in Derby, Vt., will pay $21,250 in penalties and provide $14,000 for local oil spill equipment and response training following Clean Water Act Violations discovered by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC).

On February 27, 2007, approximately 5,000 gallons of gasoline was released from an above ground 25,000 gallon double-compartment storage tank at the company's plant located on Route 5 in Derby. VTDEC emergency responders observed that gasoline had flowed beyond the containment surrounding the tank and had contaminated soil and ground water on the property. Since then, VTDEC has continued to oversee cleanup activities, including monitoring a nearby stream and a neighboring drinking water well.

EPA determined that the company violated the Clean Water Act by failing to have an adequate "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plan in place at its facility, as required by Oil Pollution Prevention requirements. Facilities storing oil above specific amounts are required to take certain measures to ensure that a tank failure or accidental spill does not lead to oil contamination of surface waters, such as rivers or streams, which could harm human and ecological health.

Both EPA and VTDEC found upon inspection of the Derby facility that in addition to failing to fully implement an adequate SPCC plan, the company failed to construct sufficiently impervious secondary containment for its oil storage containers, loading rack, and other fuel transfer areas.

“Oil spills can severely impact the environment, including surface waters and drinking water supplies,” said Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”

The penalties to resolve this Clean Water violation were lessened by the company’s willingness to fund a "Supplemental Environmental Project," under which $14,000 will go to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (“LEPC”) District #10, to boost local oil spill response capabilities. These funds will help the LEPC provide up-to-date oil spill training techniques and equipment for local responders. FP&H has been responsive to EPA’s inspection and has agreed to comply with the SPCC regulations and update its SPCC plan.

For more information:

New England oil spill prevention (epa.gov/region1/superfund/oilstor.htm)
National oil spill prevention www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm

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