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Portland Oil Re-Refining Company ordered to safely dispose PCB-contaminated oil or pay penalty

Release Date: 04/03/2013
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Region 10 Communications, 206-553-6689,

(Seattle – April 3, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10 has ordered Oil Re-Refining Company (ORRCO) of Portland, Oregon to properly dispose of PCB-contaminated oil or pay a federal penalty. EPA issued the order to expedite disposal of the PCB waste to protect human health and the environment.

“EPA enforcement helps deter violators, who could otherwise gain an unfair business advantage over their environmentally compliant competitors,” said Kelly McFadden, manager of EPA Region 10 Toxics Compliance and Enforcement. “Our vigorous and fair enforcement helps protect both communities and environmentally safe businesses.”

ORRCO collects and transports used oil to reprocessing facilities that it owns in Klamath Falls, Portland, and Goshen, Oregon and in Spokane, Washington. In 2010, ORRCO collected, transported, stored, and processed more than 150,000 gallons of used oil containing PCBs and hazardous waste in violation of federal requirements. ORRCO continues to store a significant amount of PCB-contaminated oil in storage tanks at its Portland and Klamath Falls facilities.

Under the order, ORRCO will incinerate 150,000 gallons of oil, with more than 2 parts per million PCBs, at an approved incinerator, by October 2016. ORRCO will report all disposal work and provide safe disposal documentation to EPA. If ORRCO fails to comply with the disposal order, the company must pay a $450,000 penalty.

Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are synthetic chemicals manufactured until they were banned in the U.S. in 1979. Although no longer produced in the U.S., PCBs are found in products and materials produced before the 1979 PCB ban including transformers and other electrical equipment and oil used in motors and hydraulic systems. Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and can remain for a long time in the air, water, and soil. PCBs can accumulate in plants and food crops and in small organisms and fish. As a result, people who eat fish can be exposed to PCBs in the fish. PCBs can cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

The Toxic Substances Control Act prohibits reducing the concentration of PCBs through dilution, blending, or mixing, unless otherwise expressly provided for in the PCB regulations. Liquids with PCB concentrations equal to or greater than 50 parts per million are subject to disposal as PCB Waste.

About the Toxic Substances Control Act:

Information on PCBs: