USD 40,000 Penalty Levied on Delaware Company for Inadequate Oil Spill Prevention

  • Date: December 15, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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According to the Clean Water Act, all owners of oil storage facilities must develop and implement a spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) plan to minimize the risk of release of oil and hazardous substances into the environment. In 2008, EPA inspectors noted a violation of the Clean Water Act by the company in the form of inadequate secondary containment around its bulk storage tanks or around its loading / unloading racks. Service Energy set right these violations by erecting adequate secondary containment around these structures in the fall of 2009.


33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was amended and expanded in 1972.

Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as defining wastewater standards for industry.  Water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters were also defined. The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program controls discharges from industrial, municipal, and other facilities to surface waters.

The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule covers requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. The rule requires specific facilities to prepare, amend, and implement SPCC Plans. The SPCC rule is part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, which also includes the Facility Response Plan (FRP) rule.
Recent Incidents

Two New Hampshire companies, Munce’s Superior Petroleum Products of Gorham and Ryezak Oil Co. of Rumney, faced penalties of up to USD 177,500 for violation of the federal Clean Water Act. These companies, with facilities that store significant amounts of oil, failed to take adequate precautions to prevent and contain oil spills. Although contacted, both companies failed to respond to EPA inquiries. In addition to penalties, the companies were asked to take steps to bring the facilities into immediate compliance with the federal spill prevention and response planning requirements. Even smaller spills add up and can have an adverse effect on aquatic life, as well as public and private property. Discharges from these facilities to small streams and rivers, that have little to no dilution capabilities, can be very harmful.


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