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EPA orders Clean Earth Co. to correct spill prevention violations

Release Date: 11/3/2004
Contact Information: Michael Ardito, U.S. EPA, (415) 972-3081

Saipan company found not complying with spill prevention regulations

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered Clean Earth Company to prepare and implement a plan to prevent any oil spills from its facility in the Puerto Rico area of Saipan, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

The EPA found that Clean Earth was failing to comply with federal regulations due to inadequate spill prevention measures and a lack of a certified spill prevention plan. The facility must correct the violations in order to minimize risk of oil discharge, comply with the federal spill prevention and countermeasure requirements, and avoid potential penalties. Failure to comply could result in fines as high as $32,500 per day per violation.

"It is critical that facilities such as Clean Earth have oil spill control plans and effective spill containment in place to prevent contaminating the environment," said John McCarroll, manager of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office. "Delicate coral reef ecosystems and all marine species are easily harmed by oil spills that could be prevented with the proper containment."

The company has 60 days to develop and implement a plan and provide a copy of the plan to the EPA and the CNMI's Division of Environmental Quality. The plan needs to include a firm schedule for any improvements necessary to ensure the facility will meet federal regulations. Adequate secondary containment also needs to be provided for the company's above ground storage tanks as soon as possible.

The Clean Earth facility is located near a stormwater drainage channel and the Saipan Lagoon. The facility has a 6,000 gallon trailer mounted storage tank, a 5,000 gallon tanker storage tank, and two 4,000 gallon mobile bladder storage containers to store and transport used oil.

Oil spills and other contamination from onshore sources can pollute and harm coral and marine life. The EPA requires near shore oil storage facilities to have spill control and countermeasure plans approved, along with spill containment in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.