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Conn. DPW to Pay Over $38,000 To Settle EPA Claims of Clean Water Act Violations

Release Date: 12/30/05
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: December 30, 2005; Release # dd051212

The Connecticut Department of Public Works has agreed to pay a $12,500 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to spend $26,150 on environmental projects to settle claims it violated environmental laws concerning oil spills at a building formerly owned by the State of Connecticut at the Fairfield Hospital Complex in Newtown, Conn.

The agreement stems from an incident Dec. 8, 2003, in which the facility discharged about 5,000 gallons of heating oil into Deep Brook, a sensitive trout stream, leading to the death of hundreds of fish. The discharge came from a 10,000-gallon above ground storage tank that had suffered a line failure.

According to EPA, the state DPW had no Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan for the facility, as required by the federal Clean Water Act, and did not have adequate secondary containment to contain a spill.

As part of the agreement, the DPW will audit all its tank systems to identify ways to reduce the potential of oil spills at all DPW facilities with underground and aboveground tanks beyond what is required by state or federal laws. The DPW will also put in place specific oil-containment improvements at individual facilities, such as eliminating day-tanks that contain oil at certain facilities, connecting sump oil sensors to security alarm systems, and installing software to detect leaks and shut down pumps in the event of leaks at specific facilities.

“Oil spills can have a major impact on our waterways and overall water quality,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Not only private companies, but state agencies and municipalities must take appropriate action to ensure that state and local facilities comply with oil pollution prevention regulations.”

EPA settled a similar case in June with the Town of Newtown, Conn. for a 4,000-gallon spill in December 2004 from an underground storage tank at Reed Intermediate School. The town agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty and spend $10,000 in environmentally beneficial projects to resolve those claims with EPA.

For more information on oil spills, visit our website @ http://www.epa.gov/region1/topics/emergencies/oilspills.html

Related Information:
Clean Water Act
Oil Spills