Environmental Protection

Powerine Oil Co. Settles Superfund Case

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recovering $1.45 million from Powerine Oil Co. and two related entities, CENCO Refining Co. and Energy Merchant Corp., for cleanup costs at three southern California Superfund Sites--Waste Disposal, Inc. in Santa Fe Springs, Operating Industries, Inc. in Monterey Park, and Casmalia Resources in Casmalia.

According to a federal lawsuit filed in 2004, Powerine Oil sent hazardous substances, including oil refinery wastes, to all three sites, resulting in liability under the Superfund law. EPA also alleges that Powerine Oil and its parent company, Energy Merchant, illegally transferred assets when Powerine Oil distributed funds to Energy Merchant Corp. that should have been paid to the agency.

"This settlement will bring valuable resources to help finance three very important and complex cleanup projects" said Keith Takata, director of EPA Region 9's Superfund Division. "We pursue financial settlements such as this one with Powerine, to recover the costs EPA spends to clean up sites."

In September 2006, EPA certified that construction was complete at the Waste Disposal Inc. Site, but remedy operation and maintenance continue. The agency has several cleanup projects to complete at the Operating Industries Inc. Site; the rest of the remedial work is being done by other liable parties at the site. EPA is investigating and characterizing the Casmalia Site, conducting cleanup actions, overseeing the installation of permanent caps on several landfills and groundwater monitoring.

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