Ecology fines U.S. Oil $28,500 for Blair Waterway spill

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 24 Jun 2012 12:12
Tags: n-america refinery usa

Latest News

{"module":"feed\/FeedModule","params":{"src":"http:\/\/\/feed\/pages\/pagename\/blog%3A_start\/category\/blog\/limit\/10\/t\/My+Blog","limit":"3","module_body":"* %%linked_title%%"}}
  • Want a weekly review of refining news?

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has issued a $28,500 penalty to U.S. Oil & Refining Co. for spilling an estimated 75 gallons of diesel fuel into Tacoma’s Blair Waterway on Nov. 30, 2010.

The spill occurred while the Tacoma-based refinery was testing a new 8-inch pipeline located between two of its fueling docks along the waterway.

Shortly after the company filled the new line with low-sulfur diesel fuel from a storage tank, an operator saw fuel flowing down the face of the shore into Blair Waterway, which is part of Puget Sound.

The operator quickly traced the source of the spill to an open drain valve, located near ground level on the underside of the pipeline behind a concrete containment area. The worker closed the partially open valve, built a soil barrier to keep more fuel from reaching the waterway, and notified state and federal authorities of the incident.

An Ecology investigation revealed that the pipeline diagrams that U.S. Oil had provided to its operators failed to identify the drain valve that subsequently was left partially open.

Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen said, “While we’re pleased U.S. Oil acted swiftly to stop the fuel spill and clean up the oil, the spill should have been prevented in the first place. This incident harmed Puget Sound, a national jewel that everyone is working hard to protect and restore to a healthy condition.”

Marcia Neilsen, spokeswoman for U.S. Oil, said the company takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is sorry for the incident that occurred. She said U.S. Oil has always employed good practices when placing newly constructed facilities into service. However, as a result of this spill, additional safeguards have been implemented to eliminate this type of oversight and prevent future spills.

Separately, U.S. Oil also paid a $1,500 assessment to the state to compensate the public for the environment harm caused by the spill – including damages to water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. The money will be used to fund restoration projects in the area where the spill occurred.

Ecology also is seeking to recover $8,600 from U.S. Oil for costs associated with responding to the November 2010 spill.

U.S. Oil must pay the penalty within 30 days or may appeal it to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License