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Great Barrington, Mass. Oil Facility Faces Fine for Oil Spill and Lack of Adequate Spill Prevention Plan

Release Date: 10/05/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Oct. 5, 2006) – In a complaint against a Great Barrington, Mass. oil storage and delivery company, EPA cited the firm for allegedly failing to adequately plan for and guard against oil spills at its facility, originally brought to light when an oil spill occurred at the facility in 2004. EPA is seeking penalties of up to $157,500 for the violations.

According to the complaint filed by EPA's New England office, John B. Hull, Inc. illegally discharged approximately 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel from piping connected to two of its above ground storage tanks in Feb. 2004. The oil traveled outside of the facility’s containment dike through a hole in the dike wall. The facility is located approximately 100 feet from the Housatonic River and an unknown quantity of the discharged oil reached the river. The oil discharge prompted an emergency response from the local fire department and the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection. The spill was reported to the National Response Center.

EPA’s Administrative Complaint cited the company for violations of the federal Clean Water Act for the illegal discharge, and for failure to have an adequate "Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure" (SPCC) plan in place at its facility, as required by the Act. SPCC Plans, which must be certified by a Registered Professional Engineer, specify spill prevention and response measures at facilities that store oil above threshold amounts.

The EPA complaint claims that the facility’s most recent SPCC plan, completed in 1993, did not adequately address potential oil spill hazards. Specifically, the company failed to provide adequate oil containment measures for all of its aboveground oil storage tanks and oil transfer areas and had failed to complete a review and evaluation of its SPCC plan at least once every three years, as required by the regulations.

Recently the facility has taken steps to correct its SPCC plan and upgrade its oil storage tanks and secondary containment systems. Interim secondary containment measures have been installed to provide temporary spill protection for some oil tanks and transfer areas, and the company is in the process of obtaining all of the permits required for the construction of a new oil storage facility.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”

Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into rivers or streams.

More information:

New England oil spill prevention (

National oil spill prevention (

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