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Great Barrington Oil Facility to Pay Fine for Clean Water and Chemical Inventory Violations

Release Date: 01/31/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 31, 2007) – John B. Hull, Inc., a Massachusetts fuel supply company, has agreed to pay $60,000 in penalties to resolve alleged violations of environmental laws at its oil storage and distribution facility in Great Barrington, Mass.

EPA cited the firm for a 2004 oil spill, for allegedly failing to adequately plan for and guard against oil spills at its facility, and for late filing of a “Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemicals Inventory” form with state and local authorities.

According to an administrative complaint filed by EPA's New England office, John B. Hull, Inc. illegally discharged approximately 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel from piping connected to two of its above ground storage tanks in Feb. 2004. The facility is located approximately 100 feet from the Housatonic River and an unknown quantity of the discharged oil reached the river. The oil discharge prompted an emergency response from the local fire department and the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection. The spill was reported to the National Response Center.

EPA’s administrative complaint cited the company for violations of the federal Clean Water Act for the illegal discharge, and for failure to have an adequate "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plan in place at its facility, as required by the law. SPCC Plans, which must be certified by a Registered Professional Engineer, specify spill prevention and response measures at facilities that store oil above threshold amounts.

The EPA complaint claimed that the facility’s most recent SPCC plan, completed in 1993, did not adequately address potential oil spill hazards. Specifically, the company failed to provide adequate oil containment measures for all of its aboveground oil storage tanks and oil transfer areas and had failed to complete a review and evaluation of its SPCC plan at least once every three years, as required by the regulations.

Recently the facility has taken steps to correct its SPCC plan and upgrade its oil storage tanks and secondary containment systems. The facility has cleaned out and removed its five largest bulk oil storage tanks and upgraded spill protection systems for the remaining oil tanks and transfer areas, and the company has prepared and fully implemented an SPCC plan that meets all federal requirements.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”

EPA filed an amended complaint on Jan. 16, 2007 alleging that facility was required under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (“EPCRA”) to file an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form (“Tier II form”) with state and local authorities, and that the facility had filed its 2005 Tier II form more than seven months late. The threshold reporting quantity for oil or oil products under Section 312 of EPCRA is 10,000 pounds. EPA alleged that the facility used or stored more than 200 times the threshold reporting quantity of oil in 2005.

Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into rivers or streams, and EPCRA Section 312 reporting ensures that emergency planning and response personnel are able to respond safely and effectively in the event of a release.

More information:

New England oil spill prevention: (

National oil spill prevention: (

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