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Marathon Oil Company settles PCB Violations for $38,000

Release Date: 11/28/2006
Contact Information: Daniel Duncan, (206) 553-6693, duncan.daniel@epa.gov Richard Mednick, (206) 553-1797, mednick.richard@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Cook Inlet, Alaska – Nov. 28, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Marathon Oil Company has agreed to pay nearly $38,000 for alleged PCB violations at its facility at the Spark oil platform off the coast of Alaska.

EPA is citing the company for violating the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by failing to properly register and store two PCB transformers for disposal and reuse. EPA alleges that these two PCB transformers have been improperly stored for several years.

According to Daniel Duncan, EPA’s Region 10 PCB Program Coordinator, “Facilities that store PCBs need to be aware of their notification and storage obligations under TSCA. We’ll continue to review the reports filed under the PCB regulations to determine proper compliance with the storage and disposal rules.”

Marathon Oil Company’s list of TSCA violations included:

    • Failure to register two PCB transformers and to retain a record of this registration;
    • Failure to store two PCB transformers in a storage unit that conforms to the TSCA requirements;
    • Failure to develop and maintain, as well as, submit an annual document log for four calendar years;
    • Failure to mark the two PCB transformers with the date of removal for service for disposal;
    • Failure to conduct an inspection every 30 days for the disposal of two PCB transformers; and
    • Failure to notify the EPA and obtain an identification number prior to conducting PCB waste activities

The Marathon Oil Company has now removed and properly disposed of the two PCB transformers from the Spark Platform located in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

If PCBs are released into the environment through improper disposal or leakage from PCB transformers, they take several decades to slowly degrade. When they are ingested by people and animals, PCBs are stored in the fatty tissue and then are slowly released into the blood stream. Even at low exposure levels, the concentration of PCBs in fatty tissue can accumulate to a high level. As PCBs bioaccumulate in organisms and biomagnify in the food chain, they create health hazards at all levels. The short term health hazards associated with PCB exposure for people include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. High, acute exposures can damage the liver, and in some extreme cases, cause death.

Rules governing PCBs and additional information on the toxic substance can be found at EPA’s PCB homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/pcb/.

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