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San Francisco Airport, Chevron, U.S. EPA Agree to $1M in Environmental Improvements at International Airport

Release Date: 10/13/2009
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270,  

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is entering into two related agreements with SFO Fuel and Chevron in order to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act at a large jet fuel storage facility located at the San Francisco International Airport.

In 2008, SFO Fuel representatives contacted the EPA to self-report what they believed was inadequate secondary containment capacity, as required by the Clean Water Act. An EPA inspector performed an inspection at the facility and agreed that the facility had insufficient secondary containment capacity to prevent a catastrophic spill from potentially reaching waters of the San Francisco Bay.

"We appreciate SFO Fuel and Chevron’s proactive approach in coming forward to acknowledge this problem when they became aware of it,” noted Dan Meer, assistant director of the Superfund division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. "We are pleased that they are taking prompt steps to bring their secondary containment system into compliance with the Clean Water Act"

SFO Fuel is an airline consortium which leases the SFO Fuel Tank Farm Facility at the San Francisco International Airport. The tank farm facility is operated by Chevron and includes seven above-ground storage tanks with a total capacity of nearly 15 million gallons. The largest tanks can hold up to approximately 90,000 barrels of jet fuel.

The Clean Water Act requires facilities to have secondary containment that can hold the full volume of the largest tank plus “freeboard’ or potential rainfall, in order to prevent releases of oil into waters of the United States. SFO Fuel’s tank farm is directly adjacent to San Francisco Bay.

SFO Fuel and Chevron have adjusted their operations at the tank farm with alarms and automatic shut-off valves in order to reduce the volume that is present in their largest tanks until the facility is able to increase the size of its secondary containment area. The agreements require the facility to come into full compliance by next year. The EPA is not aware of any spills or other violations at the tank farm facility.

In addition to committing to come into compliance with applicable regulations within one year, SFO Fuel and Chevron have agreed to pay a penalty of $177,500. This penalty will be subject to a 30-day public comment period. Notice of the comment period is posted on EPA’s website at:

SFO Fuel has also agreed to improve the vulnerability of the tank farm’s containment structures to jet fuel by installing a geosynthetic clay liner throughout the secondary containment area.

For more information on EPA’s compliance and enforcement program please visit: