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ChevronTexaco agrees to pay EPA $195,000 to resolve Clean Water Act penalties

Release Date: 11/19/2003
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, Press Office, 415/947-4227

Tank farm near San Luis Obispo did not have spill prevention plan

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently settled with ChevronTexaco Corporation for $195,000 to resolve penalties for federal Clean Water Act violations at a former Estero Bay, Calif. tank farm and terminal.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company has agreed to pay $195,000 to resolve the alleged violations at the former Estero Bay Tank Farm and Terminal, but it neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing in the case.

The EPA claims that Texaco Trading and Marketing, Inc., which later became part of ChevronTexaco, failed to maintain an oil spill prevention plan for the Estero Bay facility, which had been inactive since the 1970s. Approximately 60,000 gallons of oily material remained at the facility until it was deconstructed in 1998.

"Proper spill planning and prevention are crucial to minimizing the impact of oil spills on the environment," said Keith Takata, the director of EPA's Superfund division for the Pacific Southwest region. "A good prevention plan helps to prevent spills in the first place, and lessens environmental impacts caused when accidents occur."

While decommissioning the facility, a contractor removed the earthen berms intended to contain oil spills. Heavy rains carried oil remaining in the partly deconstructed facility into Alva Paul Creek, which drains directly into the Pacific Ocean. A few days later, a local citizen anonymously called the EPA to report the oil spill.

The EPA's spill prevention regulations require non-transportation related facilities that store large amounts of oil to have a spill prevention plan that addresses the facility's design, operation, and maintenance procedures to prevent spills from occurring.

The plan must also include countermeasures to control, contain, clean up, and mitigate any effects that an oil spill may have on waterways. A proper spill prevention plan would require that earthen berms remain intact while oil is stored at the facility.