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California companies required to improve oil spill prevention plans

Los Angeles, CA, August 6 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the resolution of a series of settlements under the Clean Water Act with Safety-Kleen Systems in Newark, CA, and Cargill Corporation in Fullerton, CA, for violations of federal oil pollution prevention regulations. Safety-Kleen will pay a $90,000 penalty and Cargill will pay a $45,000 penalty to resolve the violations at their facilities. 

“All companies who store oil must comply with federal standards. Facilities are required to prevent spills and be prepared to respond to a worst case oil discharge emergency," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Preventing spills and protecting our waterways from oil spills is essential.” 

Safety-Kleen, a waste oil recycler in Newark, CA, violated the Clean Water Act’s Oil Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules by failing to provide secondary containment around an oil storage area; failing to secure and control access to oil handling, processing and storage areas; failing to use safe containers and good engineering practices, including liquid level alarms, to avoid discharges; and failing to develop a complete Facility Response Plan.

Cargill Corporation, which operates a vegetable oil terminal and packaging facility in Fullerton, CA, violated EPA’s oil pollution prevention regulations by failing to update and recertify its SPCC plan for its Fullerton facility; failing to provide adequate oil containment and drainage controls; failing to ensure that the secondary containment walls of the East Tank Farm could contain spilled oil; and failing to remove accumulations of oil outside tanks and piping, transfer areas and process area collection trenches.

EPA also recently settled with four smaller California companies for violations of the oil pollution prevention regulations at their sites. The four companies are Antioch Building Materials, the Pittsburg, CA company was fined $2,775 for failure to provide a proper SPCC plan, implement tank inspection and integrity testing programs, and provide documentation of employee training. JC Greasebuyers, the Riverside, CA company was fined $2,400 for failure to provide a proper SPCC plan, for storing oil in improper storage containers and for failing to implement a tank integrity testing program to prevent releases. Gemsa Oil, the La Mirada, CA company was fined $2,250 for failure to provide a proper SPCC plan and have adequate secondary containment for vegetable oil storage tanks. SoCal Pumping, the Riverside, CA company was fined $1,900 for failing to provide a proper SPCC plan, and complete inspection records, The facility also lacked an adequate tank integrity testing program and proper oil drum secondary containment. 

The goal of EPA’s SPCC regulation is to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines, and to contain and respond to discharges of oil. The regulation requires onshore oil storage facilities to develop and implement SPCC Plans and establishes procedures, methods, and equipment requirements to prevent spills, and to respond properly if a spill occurs.


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