New Hampshire School Bus Company Pays Penalty for Violating Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations

A New Hampshire school bus company has agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to resolve Clean Water Act violations for having failed to fully implement Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure plans (commonly called “SPCC” plans) at two of its facilities located in Auburn and Weare, N.H.

In addition to paying the penalty, the company and its affiliated companies – Ocean State Transit, LLC, Student Transportation of Vermont, Inc., and STA of Connecticut – have entered into a compliance order with EPA to ensure that all its New England facilities subject to the SPCC regulations are in full compliance with the requirements of those regulations by December 31, 2011. This includes a total of 13 New England facilities, located in the New Hampshire communities of Auburn, Bedford, Epsom, Peterborough and Weare; the Vermont communities of Middlebury and Milton; Exeter, Rhode Island; and the Connecticut communities of Danbury, Griswold, Guilford, Higganum, Ledyard, Naugatuck and Stamford.

An EPA inspector documented violations of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations (also known as SPCC regulations) at the Goffstown Truck Center, Inc.’s facilities in Auburn and Weare N.H. during inspections in Nov. 2010 and March 2011.

Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from oil storage facilities, polluting New England waters.  Even the effects of smaller spills add up and can have an adverse effect on aquatic life, as well as public and private property.  Because discharges from these facilities are often to small streams and rivers that have little to no dilution capabilities, the harm can be great.  Spill prevention plans are critical to prevent such spills or, if they do occur, adequately addressing them.

“Because oil spills can do significant damage to the environment, it’s very important that facilities handling and storing oil do everything possible to minimize the risk of oil spills,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s much easier and less expensive to prevent pollution before it occurs.”

Any facility with more than 1,320 gallons of above-ground oil storage capacity and meeting certain other criteria must have spill prevention and response plans in place.