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Maine Facility Faces EPA Fine for Failing to Comply with Oil Spill Prevention Requirements

Release Date: 01/15/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. - Jan. 15, 2008) - A company in Union, Maine that stores and distributes oil from an unattended bulk storage facility faces fines of up to $157,500 for allegedly failing to adequately plan for and guard against oil spills at its facility and for failing to respond to a request for information by EPA.

A joint inspection by EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP) revealed that Butler, Maxcy & Heath, Inc. violated the Clean Water Act by failing to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan at its Union plant. In particular, the company failed to construct sufficiently impermeable and adequately sized secondary containment for its oil storage containers, loading rack, and fuel transfer areas.

Following the inspection, EPA requested that the company submit certain information regarding the oil storage at the facility. EPA also required that the facility prepare an SPCC plan and submit a schedule for upgrading the facility, including performing integrity testing on tanks and constructing secondary containment around the oil storage areas. The company has yet to fully respond to EPA’s requests for information and to take the required actions to come into compliance with the SPCC requirements.

Oil Pollution Prevention regulations require that certain spill prevention and response measures be implemented at facilities that store oil above threshold amounts. The rule helps ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into surface waters, such as rivers or streams, or groundwater.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment,” 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 Butler, Maxcy & Heath bulk plant is located approximately 50 feet uphill from a storm drain on the adjacent roadway which discharges to an unnamed tributary of nearby Seven Tree Pond. Seven Tree Pond subsequently flows into the Saint George River, which is designated a “Class A” river by the State of Maine – Maine’s second highest classification for water quality. The Saint George River eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

EPA continues to focus on oil spill prevention in New England. In 2007, EPA conducted inspections at over 100 facilities in New England to determine their compliance with the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations, and the Agency recently fined another Maine oil distribution company $157,500 for failure to have fully implemented SPCC plans at its facilities.

More information:
New England Oil Spill Prevention (epa.gov/region1/superfund/er/oilstodr.htm)
National Oil Spill Prevention: (http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/reporting/index.htm)