3 Facilities Agree to Pay Penalties Totaling $226,132 for Oil Spill Planning Failures
Release Date: 08/20/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan: 617-918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – August 20, 2009) – Three southern New England facilities that store over a million gallons of oil each agreed to pay penalties for failing to take adequate precaution to prevent and contain oil spills.
Specifically, EPA alleges that the following oil storage facilities had failed to adequately prepare and maintain Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure plans (commonly called “SPCC” plans) and/or Facility Response Plans (“FRPs”): DDLC Energy of New London, Conn.; Taylor Energy of Broad Brook, Conn.; and Northeast Products Co. Inc. of Fall River, Mass.
DDLC Energy, New London Conn. – While this company, located on the Thames River in Connecticut, had developed an SPCC and FRP plan, EPA alleged the plans contained certain deficiencies. In addition, DDLC Energy was unable to adequately respond to simulated oil spill to the satisfaction of EPA, U.S. Coast Guard and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) during a surprise drill. As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an order prohibiting the facility from receiving barge shipments of oil and EPA filed a penalty action against the company. To settle the case, DDLC has agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty. DDLC personnel worked cooperatively with EPA since the case was filed, correcting noted deficiencies and subsequently “passing” a second drill at the facility. The U.S Coast Guard was also lifted following steps taken by the company to address noted deficiencies.
Taylor Energy, Broad Brook, Conn. - Taylor Energy, located on Rustic Brook in Broad Brook, Conn., has the capacity to store over one and half million gallons of oil. During an inspection it was determined that the facility failed to fully prepare, maintain and implement a SPCC Plan. In addition, the FRP was outdated and had not been revised to reflect the current operating conditions of the facility. Also, the company had failed to implement an adequate spill response training and drill/exercise program. To settle the case, Taylor Energy has agreed to pay a $70,000 penalty. Taylor Energy personnel worked cooperatively with EPA, and made significant investments to the facility, to correct the noted deficiencies.
Northeast Products, Fall River, Mass. Northeast Products Co. Inc. is located at 52 Ferry Street in Fall River Massachusetts and it includes a commercial warehouse building utilized for the processing and packaging of lubrication oils and a bulk oil farm. At the time of EPA’s inspection the company failed to develop an adequate FRP. More specifically, the plan failed to provide evidence of contracts or other approved means for ensuring availability of personnel and equipment in the event of a spill. In addition, there were no records of testing, inspection or deployment of response equipment. Also, the company failed to comply with certain notice requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. To settle this case, the company has paid a $81,132 penalty.
Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from large and small oil storage facilities, polluting New England waters. SPCC plans and FRPs are critical to ensuring that such spills are prevented and, if they do occur, adequately addressed.
Federal law requires that facilities that have the potential for spills, like these companies, take every step possible to prevent, before they occur, oil discharges to the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans through implementation of SPCC plans. Any facility with more than 1,320 gallons of aboveground oil storage capacity and meeting certain other criteria must develop and implement SPCC plans to prevent and contain spills, such as by installing impervious secondary containment around storage tanks and transfer areas.
Since accidents can and do happen, the law recognizes that it is equally important that facilities know how to minimize environmental damage when spills do occur, and therefore requires response planning and spill preparation especially for facilities with more than one million gallons of storage capacity, like these facilities. To ensure that a facility can adequately response to a spill, it must have adequate employee training, spill response equipment, and a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up a release.
Oil storage facilities subject to the FRP rules must prepare and implement spill response plans for worst-case discharges from their facilities, which can be upwards of tens of millions of gallons of oil. EPA will continue to pay unannounced visits to facilities throughout New England.
SPCC Requirements (http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm)
FRP Requirements (http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/frps/index.htm )
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