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EPA Proposes Fine Against New London, Conn. Public Works Department

Release Date: 09/04/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has filed a complaint against the City of New London, Conn. for failing to plan for and guard against oil spills at its public works facility. EPA's complaint alleges that the city did not have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan in place, as required by federal law. The city faces a maximum penalty of $27,500.

The city's public works garage on Crystal Avenue has capacity to store more than1,320 gallons of oil, enough to require an approved spill control plan. The facility is 500 feet from the Thames River, which is vulnerable to contamination in the event of a spill.

An EPA inspection in March 2002 revealed that the facility did not have a SPCC plan in place. While the facility had some secondary containment, SPCC plans also require other safeguards, such as employee training in spill prevention procedures, tank inspections, and site security measures.

Since EPA's inspection, the city has filed an approved SPCC plan.

"An oil spill reaching the Thames River and New London's Harbor could cause significant environmental damage," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "While some control measures were in place, the city did not fully comply with its environmental responsibilities to prevent a potentially damaging oil spill."

Over the past two years, EPA NE has focused much attention on improving environmental compliance at municipal facilities, including public works facilities, through compliance assistance programs and enforcement inspections. Among the enforcement actions since 1997 have been twelve cases against municipal public works facilities and two state transportation agencies for failure to adhere to the oil pollution prevention regulations of the Clean Water Act. More information on EPA New England's municipal compliance assistance efforts can be found at