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EPA fines Kauai Electric Co. for spill prevention violations

Release Date: 3/2/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Kauai Electric Company $900 for oil spill prevention violations at its Port Allen, Kauai facility and ordered the company to amend its response plan and facility equipment to prevent any oil spills.

"It is critical that facilities such as Kauai Electric take all the measures needed to prevent contaminating the environment," said Daniel Meer, manager of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Emergency Response, Planning and Assessment Branch in San Francisco. "Delicate coral reef ecosystems and all marine species are easily harmed by oil spills that could be prevented with the proper planning and spill containment."

In November, the EPA found that Kauai Electric failed to comply with the following federal spill prevention requirements:

-inadequate containment for its portable storage tanks

-having an open bypass valve, and

-maintaining a spill prevention plan without appropriate containment equipment.

The company has 30 days to pay the fine and correct the violations to avoid additional penalties of up to $11,000 per day per violation.

The facility is about a quarter mile from the ocean and operates 11 above-ground storage containers with various petroleum products including diesel, lubricating and used oils. The facility has a total storage capacity of approximately 700,000 gallons distributed among the 11 storage containers and various portable tanks.

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 their spill response plans certified by a professional engineer, and have spill prevention measures in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.