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District Pays $20K for Lacking Oil Spill Safeguards at Lorton Prison

Release Date: 10/4/1999
Contact Information: Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540

    LORTON, Va. -- The District of Columbia will pay a $20,000 penalty for alleged violations of federal oil spill prevention regulations at Lorton Correctional Facility, the D.C. prison located on Route 123 in Lorton, Fairfax Co., Va.

In July 1998, EPA cited the District for violating the Clean Water Act’s oil spill prevention regulations, as well as federal regulations on hazardous waste storage and underground storage tanks. The oil tanks at the facility have a capacity of at least 247,000 gallons of oil.

In its complaint, EPA alleged that the District failed to prepare and implement an adequate "spill prevention, control and countermeasure" plan at the prison, as required by the Clean Water Act. This plan is supposed to be kept on file in case of an emergency oil spill to instruct on how to contain and/or prevent the spill from entering nearby waterways.

In July 1999, the District reached a $33,000 settlement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality over similar state violations, leading EPA to dismiss the federal hazardous waste and underground storage tank violations and reduce its penalty for the oil spill prevention violations.

With billions of gallons of oil stored throughout the country at any time, oil spills pose a constant threat to land and water resources. EPA’s regulations are designed to reduce the serious health and environmental risks of oil and petroleum product leaks.

The correctional facility, although located 15 miles south of Washington, D.C. in Virginia, is operated by the D.C. Department of Corrections.