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EPA Settlement with Koppers Will Protect Follansbee, W. Va. Residents and Ohio River from Oil Spills

Release Date: 12/03/2015
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (December 3, 2015) --- Koppers Inc. has begun taking action to prevent the threat of oil spills at its Follansbee, W.Va. facility, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The actions in Koppers’ agreement with EPA will better protect the health and safety of local residents, the Ohio River, its shorelines and aquatic life from potential oil spills that might occur at the facility’s above ground storage tanks.

Koppers is located 50 yards from the Ohio River, the source of multiple Ohio River drinking water intakes downstream. It converts crude petroleum into refined products, has 92 above-ground tanks and can store more than 18 million gallons of oil.

At the time of EPA’s inspection, Koppers, Inc. was not prepared to contain oil, if spilled, in the northern area of the facility where potentially 11.4 million gallons of crude oil could be stored. In addition, Koppers Inc. had not properly tested the integrity of many of its tanks to determine whether they were suitable for continued use.

Under this agreement, Koppers will do the following:

      - Prepare for EPA’s approval a plan to respond to a worst-case discharge in the northern area of the facility;

      - Improve secondary containment in the northern area of the facility after its plan is approved by EPA; and,

      - Evaluate all above-ground oil storage tanks and develop an integrity testing schedule to reduce tank rupture or collapse. This evaluation will be conducted by an independent expert.

EPA’s action was taken under the authority of sections 311(c) and (e) of the Clean Water Act governing the prevention and response to accidental releases and spills of oil and hazardous
substances to waters of the United States. For further information, see http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/memorandum-final-guidance-issuance-administrative-orders-under-section-311c-and-e-clean