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New England Ski Companies Reminded that Oil Spill Prevention Protects the Environment

Release Date: 12/19/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – As with all businesses that store significant quantities of petroleum-based fuel and oil at their facilities, New England ski resorts have a legal responsibility to create and implement updated oil spill prevention plans to be in compliance with federal oil pollution prevention laws. Adhering to “Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure” rules helps ensure that the local environment in the communities in which they operate are better protected from the potential of a damaging oil spill.

In recent years, several companies that own or operate ski resorts in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have agreed to pay penalties ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to settle EPA allegations that they each violated federal laws meant to prevent oil spills. These settlements were reached under an expedited settlement program whereby EPA agreed to resolve these cases for reduced penalties with companies that were able to quickly correct violations of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations and had certain minimum storage capacity.

“Each of these companies stores oils in volumes that require proper controls to prevent spills or minimize damages from spills,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Companies that store oil have a responsibility to follow the rules designed to protect the public and the environment. Especially companies operating ski resorts, since they are invariably located in remote areas with fragile ecological characteristics, it is imperative that this industry pays careful attention to preparing oil spill prevention plans in accordance with federal clean water regulations.”

The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules, which are part of the federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulations, provide requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness and response to prevent oil discharges to surface waters. These ski resorts store fuel at various locations around and on the mountains to fuel their snow-grooming and other equipment. Oftentimes, these storage tanks are not far from sensitive mountain streams and wetland areas. Furthermore, these tanks are often located in areas that subject them to harsh winter conditions. Having spill prevention plans in place increases the likelihood that if an accident occurs, spilled oil will be contained and cleaned up.

According to the settlements signed recently by EPA’s New England office, the following companies have previously paid the penalties listed below following EPA allegations that they had not complied with SPCC requirements:

Wildcat Mountain, Pinkham Notch, N.H., paid a penalty of $2,700 in 2014. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan that was not fully implemented. Mobile storage containers were not stored in locations to prevent oil, if spilled, from reaching surface waters. The facility’s SPCC plan failed to include a complete list of oil tanks present at the facility, and did not include documentation for tank and piping inspections or employee training records.

Waterville Valley, Waterville Valley, N.H., paid a penalty of $3,000 in 2013. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan, but it was not fully implemented. Certain stationary oil tanks did not have appropriate secondary containment and oil transfer equipment was in need of immediate repair. The facility was not maintaining oil tank containment drainage records, and was not documenting oil tank inspection or annual oil-handling employee training.

Jay Peak, Jay, Vermont, paid a penalty of $6,000 in 2013. EPA alleged that the facility did not have a written SPCC plan.

Burke Mountain Operating Company, East Burke, Vermont, paid a penalty of $2,000 in 2013. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan but it had not been reviewed by management within five years from its previous review. The facility was not maintaining employee training records, and certain oil tanks lacked appropriate secondary containment.

Boyne Resorts – Loon Mountain, Lincoln, N.H., paid a penalty of $7,500 in 2012. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan, which they had failed to fully implement and keep updated. The SPCC plan was not certified and reviewed by an engineer within five years of its previous review, and had not been signed by facility management. Additionally, the facility was not able to provide records documenting oil tank inspections or employee training. Finally, the facility was storing oil in tanks that were not designed nor constructed to be used in the manner being used, and an oil transfer area lacked appropriate secondary containment.

Boyne Resorts – Sunday River, Newry, Maine, paid a penalty of $7,500 in 2012. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan, which they had failed to fully implement and keep updated. The Plan did not include a facility site diagram showing the location and contents of each oil tank and the storage area where mobile and portable tanks are located. The SPCC Plan did not display all oil transfer areas. The facility failed to maintain records for tank inspections or employee training records. Finally, certain oil tanks and a transfer area did not have appropriate secondary containment or proper lighting for security.

Boyne Resorts – Sugarloaf, Carrabassett, Maine, paid a penalty of $10,000 in 2012. EPA allegations included that the facility had a SPCC plan, which they had failed to fully implement and keep updated. The SPCC plan was not certified and reviewed by an engineer within five-years from its previous review and not signed by management. The facility site diagram in the SPCC plan did not show the location and contents of each oil tank or storage area where mobile and portable tanks are stored. The facility was not maintaining employee training records.

Killington Pico Ski Resort Partners, Killington, Vermont, paid a penalty of $8,500 in 2011. EPA allegations included that the facility had an SPCC plan, which they had failed to fully implement and keep updated. The Plan was not reviewed by management within five-years from its previous review. The facility was not maintaining oil tank inspection records or employee training records. Finally, certain oil tanks did have appropriate secondary containment.

A common characteristic of these eight individual cases is that all but one of these New England ski resorts had attempted to prepare and implement a SPCC plan, but had failed to maintain/update the plan, or had failed to implement key aspects such as appropriate secondary containment of oil-storage tanks. Following EPA’s actions against these New England ski resorts, all the facilities have come into compliance with the SPCC requirements of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations.

All facilities that store oil in amounts above certain thresholds are required under the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations to prepare and implement an SPCC plan detailing their oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response measures to prevent the release of oil to our nation’s waterways.

More information about Oil Spill Prevention and SPCC plans: www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc

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