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Portland Co. agrees to pay $48,000 penalty for oil spill violations

Release Date: 10/02/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - A company in Portland, Maine has agreed to pay a $48,474 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to correct violations of environmental laws concerning oil spills at its hardware distribution facility in Portland.
The agreement with the Emery-Waterhouse Co. stems from an incident on August 2, 2002, in which the facility discharged 2,900 gallons of fuel oil into Nasons Brook, a tributary to the Fore River. The spill occurred after an employee accidently left open a valve while transferring oil from one tank to another. An EPA inspection later that August found the company had no Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan for the facility, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

"Industrial spills can have a major impact on our waterways and overall water quality," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "It is unfortunate that this discharge in Portland occurred, but Emery-Waterhouse responded quickly to correct this violation, and we are confident the company will act responsibly in the future."

The spill was discovered after a citizen called the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to report a smell of petroleum in the neighborhood. Emery used the oil to run machines and for heating.