EPA settles with Shoreside Petroleum for clean air violations

Company self-disclosed violations, qualifying for a significant reduction in penalities

Shoreside Petroleum Inc. has paid $89,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air rules, designed to prevent toxic air pollution at the company’s fuel terminals in Cordova and Seward, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

In the settlement announced on Oct 31, the EPA alleges that Shoreside Petroleum violated multiple Clear Air Act rules at both the Cordova and Seward terminals.

Shoreside Petroleum’s terminals receive gasoline from marine barge vessels and transport trucks, store gasoline in large fixed-roof ranks, and load gasoline into tank trucks for delivery to area customers.

In addition to the penalties, the company spent about $402,000 to install and test pollution controls and began checking for leaks and reporting results to the federal agency, the EPA said.  After installing the required controls, the EPA estimates that the company’s air pollution emissions were reduced by about nine tons a year in Cordova and 30 tons annually in Seward.

“To protect the health of their workers and the surrounding community, bulk gasoline terminals need to have pollution controls in place to prevent the release of harmful gas vapors, a known source of air toxics, said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10s Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “Operating bulk gasoline terminals without the required pollution controls and monitoring for leaks are serious violations that we enforce aggressively,” he said.

The violations that Shoreside Petroleum disclosed to the EPA in November of 2014 included some dating back to 2005.  They included failure to install vapor capture and control systems on the Seward loading rack and on storage tanks at both terminals, failure to limit gas loading to vapor-tight tank trucks, and failure to check for leaks in the gasoline service equipment during loading.

Because of its 2014 self-disclosure to EPA, the company qualified for EPA’s Self-Audit program, which resulted in a significant penalty reduction.  To take advantage of these incentives, facilities must voluntarily discover, promptly disclose to EPA, expeditiously correct, and prevent recurrence of future violations.

The EPA encourages companies to self-disclose violations discovered during routine environmental compliance audits.

The Clean Air Act requires bulk gasoline terminals to capture and control vapors from tanker truck loading racks and storage tanks.  The rules also require that all fuel loading be limited to vapor-tight gasoline tank trucks.

The vapor collection and processing systems, and loading racks handling gasoline must also be inspected monthly to check for fuel or vapor leaks. Gasoline vapors contain air toxics such as benzene and toluene, which can cause cancer or other serious health effects, including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and reproductive effects or birth defects.

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