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New England Laborers Training Academy Assessed $7,250 Penalty for Failure to Report and Cleanup Diesel Fuel Spill at Hopkinton Facility

New England Laborers Training Academy Assessed $7,250 Penalty for Failure to Report and Cleanup Diesel Fuel Spill at Hopkinton Facility

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) assessed a $7,250 penalty to the New England Laborers Training Academy (NELTA) to settle environmental violations resulting from a 1,000-gallon diesel fuel spill at its facility on East Street in Hopkinton.

On Sept. 21, 2011, the Hopkinton Fire Department notified MassDEP of a diesel fuel release that surfaced in a basement sump pump, causing fuel odors inside an Academy building. NELTA personnel conducted inventory reconciliation of the building’s fuel usage and estimated that 1,000 gallons of fuel was lost during an incident dating back to April 2011 that was never reported to MassDEP nor assessed and cleaned up. Failure to timely notify and immediately assess and abate the release of the heating oil resulted in contamination to soils, groundwater and odor impacts within the building five months later.

As part of a consent order, NELTA was assessed the $7,250 penalty and worked with MassDEP staff to revise its spill contingency and material management plans. As part of the agreement, NELTA was required to pay $3,750 of the assessed penalty to the Commonwealth. The organization also agreed to spend the remaining $3,500 penalty on a Supplemental Environmental Project that will help to purchase emergency equipment for the Hopkinton Fire Department.

“Immediate response actions and timely spill notification are critical to prevent greater environmental damage and cost,” said Lee Dillard Adams, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “NELTA has improved its business practices to prevent a recurrence of this chain of events, which cost the Academy significantly more than it would have to address the spill appropriately in the first place.”

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Another thing to consider with all of the above is the fact that many of the RCRA hazardous waste regulations pertaining to generator treatment and management of hazardous waste are suspended during the immediate response to a spill or release of a hazardous waste or what could be a hazardous waste.  That suspension ends, however, whenever it is deemed that the “immediate” response is complete.  Any spill residue that is not promptly cleaned up could be considered to be discarded by being abandoned pursuant to 40 CFR 261.2(b) and therefore subject to determination as a hazardous waste.  If either a listed or characteristic hazardous waste, it would be subject to full regulation under RCRA for on-site disposal.

Contact me to learn more about the RCRA hazardous waste regulations of the USEPA or your State.