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Neglected Oil Spill Nets Pocatello Quarry Owner a $9,250 Penalty

Release Date: 11/29/2007
Contact Information: Kevin Schanilec, 206-553-1061 , schanilec.kevin@epa.gov or Mark MacIntyre, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov

(November 29, 2007 Seattle, Wash.) J.K. Merrill and Sons, owner and operator of a soil and rock quarry located at 1302 West Syphon Road in Pocatello, Idaho, has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $9,250 penalty to resolve allegations that the company spilled used oil and failed to clean it up.

The spill was first noted during a July, 2006, inspection at the facility, which is located on the Shoshone-Bannock reservation near Pocatello. It was brought to their attention during three different EPA inspections between July 2006 and April 2007.

According to Jim Werntz, Director of EPA’s Idaho state office in Boise, the penalty was an avoidable expense for the company.

“This spill should have been cleaned up on the spot and it wasn’t,” said EPA’s Werntz. “Used oil contains many chemicals that can harm ground water, including petroleum-related chemicals and heavy metals. We gave the company ample time to clean up their mess and they failed to take any action. If a company fails to do the right thing, they will pay a penalty.”

The Company generated the used oil through maintenance operations for their heavy equipment.

EPA issued a Notice of Violation in November 2006 for several violations, including the oil spill. The Company never responded to the notice of violation, but the spill was cleaned up shortly after the April 2007 inspection.

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