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Release Date: 07/11/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office; (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - The City of Lebanon, New Hampshire, will pay a $2,500 environmental penalty and offer seminars on preventing toxics spills to settle a case brought by the regional office of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The case arose out of a chemical spill to the Mascoma River from the city's drinking water treatment plant.

As part of the agreement, Lebanon officials will host two seminars at meetings of the New Hampshire and New England Water Works Associations. Using the city's spill as a case study, the seminars will address spill preventive and cleanup actions necessary when accidental spills occur.

According to EPA, the spill resulted when a used fiberglass underground storage tank was excavated and utilized for aboveground storage of aluminum sulfate. The tank was not designed for use aboveground. The tank ruptured along a seam, spilling the aluminum sulfate directly into the plant discharge canal and into the Mascoma River. The spill caused noticeable foaming in the river, turned the river a milky white at the discharge point.

This case was filed under an expanded authority provision of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act. Enacted following the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, the law is a comprehensive statute designed to expand oil and hazardous substances spill prevention activities, establish new federal authority to direct responses to spills, improve preparedness and response capabilities, and ensure that liable companies are held responsible for spills that occur.