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2002 News Releases


EPA Proposes $40,000 Fine Against Napa State Hospital for Oil Spill Violations

Release Date: 12/10/2002
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/947-4306

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a fine of $40,000 against Napa State Hospital today for environmental violations related to a March oil spill that resulted in roughly 230 gallons of diesel threatening the Napa River.

     The EPA is citing the hospital for the March 27 incident, and for failing to maintain an oil spill response plan.  The hospital houses four 10,000 gallon storage tanks that contain diesel used to power its boilers.  A ruptured underground  pipe that had been transporting diesel from the tanks to the boiler caused the spill.

     Without a spill response plan, the hospital failed to notify state and federal authorities of the spill, and failed to immediately clean up the diesel.

     "A good spill prevention plan helps to prevent spills in the first place, and lessens environmental damages caused by accidents that have already taken place," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Superfund Division.  "Since being notified of the violations the hospital management has taken steps to remedy the vulnerabilities that led to the spill."

     While hospital officials estimate they captured about 75 gallons of the diesel using a sandbag coffer dam, an estimated 232 gallons leaked out.  The diesel a thick, red fuel   threatened the health of the Napa River watershed, which is home to numerous species of fish, insects, plants and other wildlife.

      As part of the spill prevention plan the hospital has created since the incident, officials have installed double-walled pipelines from the tanks to the boiler.

     Officials with Napa County Environmental Management received an anonymous complaint about the spill April 24.  Since then, the EPA has worked with county and state officials to bring forward today's fine.  The hospital has agreed to the proposed fine.