U.S. EPA penalizes Southern California refinery for violating oil spill prevention requirements, endangering Los Angeles waterways
SOUTH GATE (March 30, 2022) - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Lunday-Thagard Company dba World Oil Refining (World Oil) for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations related to oil pollution prevention at the company’s South Gate, Calif. refinery and storage facility. Under the settlement, World Oil will pay a $112,673 penalty.
“This enforcement action reflects EPA’s continued commitment to ensuring facilities like World Oil refinery comply with federal clean water laws and prevent unnecessary oil spills,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Actions like this are key to protecting our waterways and surrounding communities.”
The facility is located near the Rio Hondo Channel and the Los Angeles River, which flow to the Long Beach Harbor and the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Golden Shore Marine Reserve, an environmentally sensitive site that is of the “highest concern for protection” according to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Area Contingency Plan developed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a way to prepare for major oil spills. EPA alleges that the company violated the Clean Water Act's Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations after EPA inspections at the facility on March 31 and April 16, 2021 found that World Oil failed to:
- Implement tank and facility inspections according to the written procedures in the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan;
- Inspect and conduct integrity tests on tanks in accordance with industry standards;
- Promptly correct visible discharges which result in a loss of oil from containers; and
- Develop an adequate Facility Response Plan (FRP) to respond to oil spills.
World Oil took the following steps to come into compliance:
- developed and began implementation of an updated tank testing and inspection schedule;
- implemented a revised oil spill prevention training program; and
- updated its FRP.
EPA’s Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations aim to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines and to ensure containment of oil discharges in the event of a spill. Specific prevention measures include developing and implementing spill prevention plans, training staff, and installing physical controls to contain and clean up oil spills.
The requirement to develop an FRP applies to facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause “substantial harm” to the environment by discharging oil into or on navigable waters. FRPs demonstrate a facility’s preparedness to respond to a worst-case oil discharge. FRPs also help local and regional response authorities better understand potential hazards and response capabilities in their area.
View the public notice.
Learn more about the EPA’s oil spill prevention program.
Learn more about the Los Angeles/Long Beach Area Contingency Plan.
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