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City of Bangor Agrees to Pay $59,586 and spend $165,432 on Cleaner Fuel to Settle Claims of Environmental Violations at Airport Facilities City Required to Continue Its Investigation

Release Date: 12/06/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: Dec. 6, 2004; Release # sr04-12-01

BOSTON - The city of Bangor, Maine has agreed to pay a $59,586 penalty and to convert its entire fleet of vehicles to biodiesel fuel to resolve claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it violated hazardous waste and clean water laws at four of its facilities at the former Dow Air Force Base. Under this agreement signed today, the city will pay $165,432 to convert its fleet to this clean-burning alternative fuel made partially from soy beans.

The violations were found after Bangor failed to participate in an environmental audit and self-disclosure initiative offered by EPA in 2001. Under the initiative, letters were sent to over 1000 towns in New England, alerting them of their responsibilities to comply with environmental laws and offering them assistance. Cities and towns were encouraged to conduct environmental compliance audits and disclose and correct violations. In return, EPA agreed to substantially reduce or eliminate potential penalties. The City of Bangor chose not participate in the program.

The settlement resolves claims by EPA that Bangor improperly stored, handled and disposed of hazardous wastes; and failed to train personnel or have contingency plans at the city's Department of Public Works, motor pool, aviation fuel and Bangor International Airport facilities, in violation of federal and state hazardous waste standards. The agreement also resolves an EPA claim that Bangor discharged untreated wastewater from its motor pool into a stream that eventually flows to the Penobscot River, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. Bangor did not have a permit to discharge from the facility. The city has come into compliance with hazardous waste laws and has disconnected the illicit discharge from the motor pool facility.

In addition to paying a $59,586 penalty, the city's agreement to convert its diesel fleet to biodiesel will reduce emissions of hydrocarbons by 21 percent, of particulates by 5 to 10 percent and of carbon monoxide by 11 percent. The project also has the added benefit of replacing non-renewable fossil fuels with a renewable agricultural-based fuel. The agreement may also help encourage a stronger market for the alternative fuel in central and northern Maine. The federal government's energy and environment policy has put a priority on converting diesel fleets to biodiesel.

"This innovative agreement will reduce air emissions by endorsing the city's conversion to a cleaner-burning fuel source," said Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England Office. "The settlement also develops a framework for future investigation and clean-up at this important site," Varney continued.

The city plans to buy about 458,000 gallons of biodiesel, over the life of the project, which will cost $165,432 more than current diesel. The city was able to offset its penalty by that amount in order to pursue this project.

Under the settlement, the city also agreed to investigate jet fuel contamination of groundwater at the aviation fuel farm and along a pipeline that runs to the airport, under direction from EPA. The city is working with Maine Department of Environmental Protection to address potential leaks in the city's jet fuel distribution system and to evaluate clean-up alternatives.

Related Information:
Retrofits & Cleaner Fuels
Clean Water Act
RCRA/Hazardous Waste