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EPA orders Union Pacific to prevent oil discharges in Martinez, Calif.

Release Date: 6/13/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered the Union Pacific Railroad Company to prevent any oil discharges and improve its measures to prevent oil spills at its Ozol Service Track Area in Martinez, Calif.

The company has 10 days to submit a work plan that will include a firm schedule to study, design and implement measures to prevent oil spills. The order also requires Union Pacific to investigate the extent and concentrations of oil contamination from the railroad track area that have entered or threaten to enter Suisun Bay. Failure to comply could result in fines up to $37,500 per day of violation.

“It is critical that companies such as Union Pacific take the necessary steps to prevent any oil spills from their train re-fueling areas that could possibly contaminate the environment,” said Dan Suter, federal on-scene coordinator in the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Emergency Response Section. “Delicate ecosystems and sensitive species are easily harmed by oil discharges that could be prevented with adequate measures.”

In February, an EPA official responded to a report of an oil discharge from the company’s service track area into Suisun Bay in the northwestern portion of San Francisco Bay. The area is used for a train service station that includes the maintenance and re-fueling of

The oil discharge originated from oil-stained soil and pads surrounding the railroad track located along the shoreline. The oil entered an adjacent storm drain and drained into Suisun Bay. While Union Pacific Railroad Company has made some changes since

Oil spills and other contamination from onshore sources can pollute and harm marine life. The EPA requires companies that spill oil to immediately respond to the discharge and then implement spill prevention measures to prevent a future discharge of oil into the ocean.

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