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Alton, N.H. Oil Storage Facility Faces EPA Fine for Failing to Comply with Oil Spill Prevention Requirements

Release Date: 06/07/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 7, 2007) - An oil storage and distribution company with a bulk plant in Alton, New Hampshire faces fines for allegedly failing to adequately plan for and guard against oil spills.

According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office, the Irving Oil Company did not have an adequately prepared and implemented "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plan in place at its Alton petroleum bulk storage and distribution facility, as required by the federal Clean Water Act and federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulations.

A joint inspection by representatives from EPA’s New England office and the N.H. Dept. of Environmental Services at the Alton bulk plant found that the company had failed to construct sufficiently impervious secondary containment around its aboveground storage tanks. The facility’s oil storage included six above-ground bulk petroleum storage tanks ranging in size from 10,000 to 20,000 gallons, with an aggregate storage capacity of more than 101,000 gallons.

The Irving Oil facility also stores gasoline on-site and is located within the well radius of the Town of Alton’s drinking water supply. This sensitive location means that spills at the bulk plant could lead to contamination of a public drinking water aquifer. On Nov. 28, 2005 the facility had a spill of over 5,000 gallons of No. 2 home heating oil, which impacted the groundwater beneath the tank farm.

Following EPA’s inspection and contacts with the company, Irving Oil has been responsive to EPA’s requests to bring the Alton bulk plant into compliance with the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment, including to neighboring drinking water wells and public drinking water supplies,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “It's very important that facilities handling oils take the correct steps to minimize risks of oil spills.”

Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into drinking water wells, rivers or streams. For the alleged violations of SPCC requirements, the company faces a maximum penalty of $157,500.

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