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EPA orders R.H.S. Lee, Inc. to prevent oil discharges at their Oahu facility

Release Date: 2/15/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered R.H.S. Lee, Inc. to prevent any oil discharges and improve oil spill containment at its facility in Pearl City, Oahu.

In January, an EPA inspector found oil and oily water discharges from the R.H.S Lee site that flows off the property into a storm drain leading to the ocean. The facility also lacked proper controls to prevent the discharge of oil, such as secondary containment and other controls to prevent oil releases. While the facility has made some changes since the time of the inspection, a substantial threat of discharge remains.

"It is critical that facilities such as this take the necessary steps to prevent any oil spills that could possibly contaminate the environment," said Janet Yocum, on-scene coordinator of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Emergency Response Section.

The company has 10 days to submit a work plan for approval by the EPA that includes a firm schedule for any improvements necessary to ensure no oil or oily waste water is discharged from the facility. Failure to comply could result in fines as high as $32,500 per day of violation.

The facility will need to:

-design and implement measures to prevent the discharge of oil into the environment;

-investigate the extent and concentrations of oil contamination from the facility that have entered or threaten to enter the storm drain;

-take measures to clean up, remove and properly dispose all oil and petroleum contamination.

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.