Department of Ecology News Release - December 4, 2008
BELLEVUE – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Basin Oil Corp. $41,000 for illegal storage of accumulated wastes at its south Seattle used-oil processing center.
Basin Oil (Basin) operated at 8661 Dallas Ave. S. from 1987 to 2004. The company took more than three years to remove 900 accumulated drums of oil that remained after the business closed. Basin had 90 days to process or remove all the used oil, under Ecology regulations for used-oil processors. Instead, the oil sat in tanks and containers at the facility through February 2008.
The company also failed to take precautions to prevent the oil from entering soil. Ecology inspectors observed drums and containers left open, with oil allowed to overflow onto the ground.
"Basin Oil's customers paid to have these wastes processed properly," said Darin Rice, who manages Ecology's Hazardous Waste and Toxic Reduction Program. "Instead, Basin let used oil overflow from containers onto the ground, contaminating the soil very near the Duwamish River."
Violations include failing to:
Ecology placed the Basin Oil site on its statewide list of confirmed and suspected contaminated sites in 2005, due in part to leaks and spills that occurred during the improper storage of wastes. Soil on the property is contaminated with petroleum products and other compounds.
Basin Oil's closure was the first to occur under Ecology's used-oil processor rule, adopted in 2004 to minimize risk to the environment and prevent costly cleanups at taxpayer expense. The rule requires closure plans and a demonstration of ability to pay to properly clear out wastes and clean up processing areas.
Ecology developed the rule after discovering serious violations at a Tacoma processing center, which released 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of oil to a storm drain in 1999 (www.ecy.wa.gov/news/1999news/99-152.html). The facility was subsequently abandoned by the owners and required more than $4.3 million of public funding to clean up.
The penalty is part of Ecology's broader efforts to reduce and prevent toxic threats to the environment, and to meet the state's goal of restoring Puget Sound by 2020. Basin Oil is near the Duwamish River, which flows to Elliott Bay on Puget Sound.
Basin oil may appeal the penalty to Ecology or to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.
Media contact: Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009; cell 206-920-2600
Background on used-oil processors in Washington:
Closure requirements for used-oil processors: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/hwfacilities/fac_closure.html
Financial assurance requirements for use-oil processors: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/hwfacilities/web_guide/financial.html
Used-oil processing facilities map: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/hwfacilities/index.html
Used-oil processing facilities list: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/hwfacilities/pages/activefac.html
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