The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced it has fined Reed Oil Company $62,470 (€49,221) for 21 violations of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act.
On 19 August 2013 an aboveground storage tank containing 7,500 gallons of off-road diesel fuel exploded at the US company’s Pymatuning Township, Mercer County facility, killing a contractor that was not certified to work on storage tanks. As a result, DEP launched an investigation and uncovered several violations at this and another facility owned by Reed Oil Company in New Castle, Lawrence County.
DEP’s investigation found that Reed Oil Company used individuals that were not certified by DEP to perform work on above ground storage tanks as required by state law.
‘The failure to use a certified individual as required by law resulted in a fatality,’ DEP Northwest regional office director John Guth said. ‘Assessing a penalty is key to ensuring this does not happen again.’
DEP also found that the company lacked secondary containment for many of its storage tanks at both its Mercer and Lawrence county facilities. At the Mercer County location, the company failed to have four tanks inspected as required by state law. The company has taken corrective action to remedy these issues.
Reed also failed to notify DEP when it changed the substance contained in one of its above ground storage tanks.
The same explosion also caused a spill which contaminated nearby soil. A cleanup to remediate the soil is ongoing.
Reed Oil and its affiliated companies have received other violations and fines from DEP over the past several years, all for violations of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, according to the DEP.
The penalty will be paid to the Storage Tank Fund, which funds the administration of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. Reed Oil Company has the right to appeal the fine to the Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days.