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Connecticut Oil Firm Agrees to Pay Fine to EPA for Lack of Adequate Oil Spill Planning

Release Date: 02/09/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 9, 2007) - A Connecticut oil storage and delivery company will pay a fine of $22,500 under the terms of a settlement with EPA for failing to plan adequately for and guard against oil spills at a bulk storage facility in Essex and its offices in Westbrook.

The penalty for the Pennywise Oil Company, Inc. of Westbrook, Conn. resulted because the company did not fully implement "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plans for a tank farm it operated in Essex and at an office location it owns in Westbrook, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

An inspector from EPA’s New England office inspected the Pennywise facility with a representative from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s (CTDEP’s) Emergency Response Unit in February 2006 and found that the company failed to construct adequate secondary containment around its aboveground oil storage tanks, truck off-loading area, and loading rack, leading to a risk of a spill to surface waters in the event of discharges during transfer operations or from equipment failure.

“Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into rivers, streams, or private wells,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

Pennywise has had two prior oil spills caused by overfilling its oil tanks at the Essex tank farm. The spills occurred in November 2005 and January 2006. CTDEP’s Emergency Response Unit received the spill notifications from the company and initiated emergency remediation activities to protect the surrounding environment.

The location of the Essex facility means that spills at the tank farm could impact navigable waters. A spill occurring at the Essex storage facility could contaminate the Falls River, a tributary of the Connecticut River.

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