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VEPCO to Pay $600,000 Penalty for Alleged Spill Prevention and Emergency Response Violations

Release Date: 12/14/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Virginia Electric and Power Co. (VEPCO) has settled alleged environmental violations at the company’s Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries, Va.

In the settlement filed today in federal court in Alexandria, Va., VEPCO has agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty to settle alleged past violations of oil spill prevention and emergency preparedness regulations at the power plant. VEPCO’s $600,000 penalty is one of the largest civil penalties on record for such violations at a single facility.

The government’s complaint, also filed today, alleges that VEPCO violated spill prevention, control and countermeasure regulations designed to protect waterways from oil spills and leaks. In a June 1998 inspection, EPA found several deficiencies in Possum Point’s spill prevention plan, including inadequate secondary containment around two 21-million-gallon aboveground oil tanks; failure to keep containment areas free of vegetation so that tanks could be visually inspected; and failure to promptly repair visible oil leaks.

The complaint also alleges that VEPCO violated requirements for training drills to ensure that company and emergency response officials are prepared to respond to a major oil spill. The requirement for emergency response drills went into effect in 1994, following the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster.

The settlement also resolves issues of non-compliance with other requirements at Possum Point, which VEPCO disclosed to EPA in August 1999. Those include VEPCO’s failure to amend its spill-prevention plan to include smaller tanks, failure to document certain leak inspections, and failure to update its emergency preparedness plan.

VEPCO has corrected the alleged violations noted in EPA’s 1998 inspection and the company’s 1999 disclosure. The settlement amount takes into account the company’s good faith compliance efforts, as well as its cooperation with the government in investigating and resolving this matter. As part of the settlement, the company neither admitted nor denied liability for the violations alleged in the complaint or disclosed by the company.

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