Fuel Company Fined by the EPA

October 12, 2011
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The company that refuels planes at Logan International Airport accused of spilling hundreds of gallons of jet fuel into the water between the airport and East Boston by a group of New England clammers, has been fined up to $177,500 from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to demonstrate that they are able to respond and react to an emergency oil spill as required by federal clean water laws.

According to a complaint filed recently by EPA’s New England office, Swissport Fueling, Inc. did not properly execute its emergency spill response plan at the Logan facility, in violation of the oil pollution prevention regulations under the federal Clean Water Act

EPA’s penalty complaint stems from a May 31 unannounced exercise carried out by representatives of EPA, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard at the Logan facility. The objective of this exercise – a simulated oil spill – is to determine whether a facility can successfully respond to an oil release. As a result of the May exercise, EPA determined that the companies could not properly put in place the facility’s FRP and its personnel were not adequately trained in carrying out the response plan, resulting in an “unsuccessful” overall rating for the exercise.

Swissport Fueling is responsible for managing more than one million gallons of fuel oil storage. Because storm drains at the Logan facility empty into Boston Harbor and Boston Inner Harbor, any oil spills could have substantial consequences, greatly impacting the local environmental, economy and commerce.  Given the facility’s large storage capacity and its proximity to fish and wildlife and sensitive areas, it is required to have a Facility Response Plan (FRP) as well as a SPCC plan.

In the event of a spill, the FRP regulations require companies to have emergency response procedures in place, adequate employee training and appropriate spill response equipment, as well as a contingency plan for containing and cleaning up a release.

In August, Swissport agreed to test the sediment in the clam beds in the Wood Island Flats near the North Outfall booms for petrochemicals contamination.

Swissport and Massport have maintained that no jet fuel made it beyond the North Outfall booms that are in position to contain large fuel spills.

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