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EPA orders Big Island Asphalt Company, Inc. to prevent oil discharges

Release Date: 1/31/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Big Island Asphalt Company, Inc. to prevent any oil discharges and improve oil spill containment at its facility in Hilo.

In November, an EPA inspector found oil and oily water discharges from containers at the Big Island Asphalt site located near stormwater drainage channels along Kalaneaneole Street that empty into Hilo Harbor. The facility also lacked proper controls to prevent the discharge of oil into Hilo Harbor and Hilo Bay. While the facility has made some changes since the time of the inspection, a substantial threat of discharge remains.

"It is critical that facilities such as Big Island Asphalt take the necessary steps to prevent any oil spills that could possibly contaminate the environment," said Janet Yocum, on-scene coordinator of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Emergency Response Section. "Delicate coral reef ecosystems and all marine species are easily harmed by oil discharges that could be prevented with the proper containment."

The company has 10 days to submit a work plan for approval by the EPA that include a firm schedule for any improvements necessary to ensure the facility will provide adequate containment for the company's above ground storage tanks. Failure to comply could result in fines as high as $27,500 per day of violation.

The facility, which stores asphalt and diesel fuel in above ground storage tanks, will need to:

-design and implement measures to prevent the discharge of oil into the environment;
-investigate the extent and concentrations of oil contamination from the facility that have entered or threaten to enter
the storm drain;
-take measures to clean up, remove and properly dispose all oil and petroleum contamination.

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 spill control and countermeasure plans approved, along with spill containment in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.