Vol. 3 No. 2
                                              January 2000
                             Oil   Spill
             Program   Update
                      The U.S. EPA's Oil Program Center Report

  EPA's Oil Spill Program Update is produced quarterly, using information provided by EPA Regional staff, and in accordance with
  Regions' information needs. The goal of the Update is to provide straight-forward information to keep EPA Regional staff, other
  federal agencies and departments, industries and businesses, and the regulated community current with the latest developments.  The
  Update is distributed in hard copy and is available on the Oil Program homepage at www.epa.gov/oilspill.
Oil  Removals in Region 1
EPA Region 1 covers the six state
area—Connecticut, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Rhode Island, and Vermont—
commonly referred to as New
England. The Regional office is
located in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Region 1 Oil Program resides
in the Emergency Response
Section. The Emergency Response
Section has eight on-scene
coordinators (OSCs) who  perform
a variety of duties including
inspecting facilities for compliance
with Spill Prevention Control and
Countermeasures, and Facility
Response Plan regulations;
participating in contingency
planning; conducting drills and
exercises; and responding to oil
spills and hazardous substance

The New England area has a long
history of industrial development.
Starting in the 1700s, textile mill
complexes were built along New
England's  rivers. Originally these
facilities depended on the  rivers for
the power they needed to operate.
Over time, however, most of these
facilities converted to other sources
of energy, including oil. Many of
these industrial sites are now
closed and some have left behind a
legacy of environmental problems.
Region 1 frequently conducts
Superfund removal actions to
address chemical contamination at
abandoned mills; more recently the
Region 1 Oil Program conducted
several removal actions to contain
and or prevent the discharge of oil
from abandoned mills. The
following are briefcase studies of
two recent actions.

Royal Mills Site, West Warwick,
Rhode Island

The Royal Mills complex in West
Warwick, Rhode Island was built
in the 1870s and was an operating
textile  mill until the 1960s. Several
businesses occupied the complex
until 1993. The mill has been
vacant since that time. Originally,
water from the Pawtuxet River was
diverted through the facility to
power the facility's machinery.
Eventually the mill converted from
water power to No. 6 oil as its
primary fuel. About one dozen
tanks were used to store fuel at the
mill site. The tanks ranged in size
from 1,000 gallons to
approximately 400,000 gallons.
The larger tanks, including the
400,000-gallon aboveground
storage tank and three underground
storage tanks, were located on a
hill above the facility. Oil was
conveyed to the mill's boiler
through a piping system. When the
mill closed, oil was left behind in
the tanks.
 Beatriz Oliveira, Editor,
 Oil Program Center
 David Lopez, Director,
 Oil Program Center
 Ariel Rios Building
 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
 Mail Code 5203G
 Washington, D.C. 20460

 2 Oil Spill Program Update
In 1998, the Rhode Island
Department of Environmental
Management (DEM) received a
report of a light sheen in the
facility's tailrace (part of a water
diversion structure where water
that was diverted into the mill re-
enters the river). DEM responded
and deployed booms and sorbents
to contain the sheen. Subsequently,
DEM notified EPA of conditions
at the site. An OSC responded to
the site and determined that the oil
in the tanks and associated piping
presented a significant threat of
discharge to the Pawtuxet River.
EPA and DEM negotiated a scope
of work for the site, and EPA
issued a Pollution Removal
Funding Authorization to DEM to
remove the oil.

During the summer of 1999, EPA
and DEM worked together to
remove approximately 400,000
gallons of oil from the tanks and
piping at the site. Approximately
300,000 gallons of No. 6 oil in the

 Oil Removals in Region 1  ...  1
 Barge Spills Oil on Delaware
   River	  3
 Tire Fire Extinguished After Five
   Weeks	  4
 Atlas Refining Corrects SPCC
   Violations	  5
 Koch Industries Settles
   Complaints Covering 310
   Spills	  6
 Conoco Tank Explodes During
   Inspection  	  6
 Region 5 Responds to LPG
   Leak	  7
 Testing Spill Response Tools at
   Ohmsett	  7
 Recent Oil Spill News	  8
 Announcements .          ,  10
                                                  January 2000
     Oil is pumped out of an abandoned tank at the Royal Mills site in
     Rhode Island.
large aboveground tank were found
to be in useable condition. The
recovered oil was sent to an oil
terminal where it was blended and
sold as fuel.  The proceeds from the
sale of the oil offset some of the
response costs.

Hull Dye Site, Derby, Connecticut

In August 1994, EPA and the
Connecticut  Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP)
responded to a report of oil
bubbling up  from sediments and
polluting the Housatonic River.
The area where the discharge
occurred is a site where a power
plant has been in operation since
the  1890s. In the 1970s,  the site
was also home to Hull Dye, which
operated a fabric printing operation
there. The Hull Dye facility was
powered by hydroelectric turbines
and an oil fired boiler. In 1981, a
fire destroyed the main factory
building. Oil has not been used at
the  site since the fire. The  power
plant operations currently consist
of a storage facility and an
operating hydroelectric plant.
Because the current owner of the
site did not have the financial
ability to conduct cleanup
operations, EPA and DEP initiated
a removal action. Response
operations were complicated due to
the topography of the  site, and
because the river is influenced by
tides in this area. A coffer dam was
installed, and the river bank and
sediments from the river were
excavated. The removal action
recovered an estimated 15,000
gallons of liquid oil and an
additional 15,000 gallons of oil
tied up in sediment. A recovery
system was installed as part of the
initial removal action  and has been
in continuous operation since that
time. The system has recovered
more than 5,000 gallons of No. 6
oil. The source of the  oil is
believed to be a 500,000-gallon
aboveground oil storage tank and a
20,000-gallon underground storage
tank, which provided oil storage
for the Hull Dye boiler room. The
large tank was found to be empty;
the underground tank was full of
oil soaked sand, which was later

 3 Oil Spill Program Update
In August 1999, an oil sheen was
again observed at the facility. The
Connecticut Department of
Environmental Protection and EPA
responded. With the  assistance of
the EPA Environmental Response
Team, several monitoring wells
were installed to better define the
extent of the oil contamination and
its pathway to the river. The oil
appears to have been migrating
under the building and under the
tailrace to the river. Operation of
the turbines to generate electricity
appears to have scoured out the
bottom of the tailrace, leading to
the recent discharge.

A second phase of operations
began in December 1999. The
work involves the physical
removal of the tanks and
excavation of a trench. Data from
the recent investigation indicates
that a significant amount of oil is
still present in the area. While the
trench is being excavated, liquid
oil and oil-saturated  soil will be
removed. The trench will be used
to install an additional oil recovery

EPA and DEP are considering
taking additional actions to prevent
and/or contain the discharge at the
tailrace. These actions may include
dewatering the tailrace and
re sealing its base, and installing an
underflow weir.

Removal actions at the Hull Dye
site and the Royal Mills site are
characteristic of the oil spill
response actions that EPA has
conducted at several mill sites in
Region 1.  Because many mill
facilities in the Region have
closed, EPA is likely to encounter
similar sites in the future.
Barge  Spills Oil

on Delaware


A stretch of the Delaware River,
between New Castle and Reedy
Point, was the scene of a small-
volume oil spill on October 27,
1999. The responsible party
estimated the  amount of oil spilled
at 1,000 gallons; the U.S. Coast
Guard set the  figure at 4,900
gallons. Observers noted that
economic and environmental
effects have been minor.

A barge owned by Bouchard
Transportation of Long Island,
New York spewed vacuum gas oil
while it was being loaded at a
Motiva Enterprises dock on the
Delaware side of the river in
Delaware City. The U.S. Coast
Guard discovered the spill at about
4:00 a.m. on October 2.

Motiva, Bouchard, and the
Delaware Bay & River
Cooperative responded quickly to
the spill. Booms were quickly set
up around nearby Pea Patch Island.
The Delaware Bay & River
Cooperative dispatched five oil-
skimming boats that towed
additional absorbent booms to  soak
up the oil. Cleanup was not
expected to take more than a day.

Because weather conditions on the
morning of the spill were
favorable, the oil had only a
minimal impact on the surrounding
environment.  Some pooling of oil
was expected  between large
boulders on the gravel beaches
bordering the  Delaware and New
Jersey sides of the river. The oil
                                                  January 2000
was also expected to penetrate
some sand and gravel beaches.
Shoreline plants, entering into their
winter dormancy at the time of the
spill, should recover almost fully
by next spring's growing season.

Some larval and juvenile fish may
have been sublethally and lethally
impacted by the spill, with most
adult fish remaining unaffected.
Shellfish were also thought to be
largely unaffected, with a slight
possibility of some tainting of
oyster beds if oil was to collect
over the beds.

A number of ducks were coated
with oil. However, potential
rescuers, including the Tri-State
Bird Rescue team, were unable to
capture them. Luckily, at the time
of the accident Pea Patch Island
was not occupied by many of the
birds that commonly nest there, but
migratory and overwintering
waterfowl may have been exposed
to some oil.

Waterfowl are especially
vulnerable to oil  spills because
they spend most of their lives in
water. When birds are oiled, their
buoyancy, ability to repel water,
and feather insulation are reduced,
which can lead to hypothermia or
drowning. If the birds preen their
oiled feathers, they may experience
irritation, sickness, or death.

Similarly, riverine mammals,  such
as racoons, mink, muskrats, and
river otters, that ingest oil while
grooming may also experience
irritation, sickness, or death. Some
sea turtles may have been impacted
by the ingestion of tar balls that
can block their intestinal tracts.

 4 Oil Spill Program Update
The Delaware Estuary, which the
Delaware River empties into,
stretches 134 miles from Cape
May, New Jersey to Cape
Henlopen, Delaware. The estuary
transports 70 percent of the oil that
 arrives on the East Coast and has,
therefore, been at high risk for oil
spills for as long as oil has been
shipped. In 1985, a Panamanian
tanker hit a rocky shoal and spilled
435,000 gallons of oil. Cleanup of
that spill involved 4,000 people
and 22 companies.

Oil spills to the Delaware River,
and in the United States in general,
have been on the decline for the
last three years. Part of this
encouraging trend can be attributed
to strict federal legislation that
imposes heavy penalties on
refiners and transportation
companies. Even  fewer
opportunities for oil spills may
exist after safer hull provisions and
prevention programs are triggered
by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Tire Fire


After  Five

Weeks;  Oil  Spill

Risks Minimized

Lightning from early morning
thunderstorms started a five-week
tire fire in California's northern
San Joaquin Valley on September
22, 1999. The tires are part of what
may be one of the world's largest
waste tire piles, estimated at 40
million tires. The tires are owned
by Edward Filbin, who started
using the 40-acre  site for tire
                                                  January 2000
disposal beginning in the 1950s.
The site is approximately 100
miles from Sacramento, near the
farm town of Westley.

Tire fires often require oil spill
response methods because tires
release pyrolitic oil when they are
burned. The average tire can
release one to two gallons of this
motor oil-like substance. Usually in
a tire fire the oil builds up under
the tires, but due to the topography
of the Westley site, oil flowed
away from tire piles. Heat from the
tire fire ignited some of the  oil,
resulting in separate blazes.

The burning tire pile at Westley,
which was as high as a six-story
building, sent black smoke 3,000
feet into the air and sprinkled soot
for miles. Concern about the toxic
and irritating smoke prompted
local officials to declare a state of
emergency and to set up air
monitoring stations around the

Often tire fires are left to burn
themselves out, but that can take a
long time; a tire fire in Tracy,
California is reportedly still
burning 15 months after it started.
The size and intensity of the
Westley tire fire, its propensity to
cause environmental damage, the
proximity of the fire to populated
areas, site topography, and local
residents' concerns prompted local
officials to call in special
firefighters from Texas to
extinguish the blaze. Nearly 80
percent of the 7 million tires in one
pile were burned or partially
burned by the time the fire was
Pyrolitic oil flowing from the Westley
tire fire.

The relatively rapid success of the
fire fighting effort may be due in
part to the fact that pyrolitic oil
flowed away from the pile rather
than remaining trapped beneath it.
Burning oil trapped beneath a
burning pile can spread  fire
through the whole depth of the tire
pile, making it more difficult to  put
out. In this case, most of the fire
was concentrated within several
feet of the tire pile's surface.

Smoke from the fire provoked
complaints from many local
residents. Tire smoke contains
hydrocarbons and some trace
elements of hazardous materials,
such as benzene; therefore,
inhaling particulate matter is a
health concern. Residents
complained of breathing problems,
bloody noses, and burning eyes. A
westerly weather front pushed the
smoke plume away from the town
and dispersed the smoke. As a
health precaution, air monitoring
stations were  set up in the vicinity
of the fire.

In order to reach the blaze with
firefighting equipment, response

 5 Oil Spill Program Update
workers and firefighters had to
bulldoze paths to the fire through
the piles of tires. Response workers
used bulldozers and backhoes to
reach the blaze, then used foam
and water to extinguish the fire. To
contain the oily runoff, workers
built pond traps around the site.
Skimmers  and booms were used to
recover the pyrolitic oil from the

Once the fire was under control,
infrared thermal imagery was used
to identify remaining hot spots.
Firefighters used more  than 38,000
gallons of foam to extinguish the
fire. Burned debris was stockpiled
and removed, though unburned
tires were left in place.

On-going response actions at the
site include building check dams to
control runoff from expected
winter precipitation, as well as
preparation for long-term response.
The State of California will decide
whether the remaining  tires will
remain onsite, be covered with soil,
or be subject to other actions.
The oil that was produced by the
tire fire was collected and taken
offsite. The oil will be recycled by
Romic Environmental
Technologies, and then sent to
Fredonia, Kansas to the Systech
cement kiln and used  as a blended
fuel source for cement kiln
operations. A total of 250,950
gallons of oil was removed from
the site and sent to Romic for

Atlas Refining

Corrects  SPCC


In a settlement with EPA, Atlas
Refining, a Newark, New Jersey
company, has agreed to pay
$32,000 in penalties and correct
violations  of the spill  prevention
provisions of the Clean Water Act.
The settlement closes out a
complaint issued to Atlas in March
of this year for not preparing and
implementing a Spill Prevention
Countermeasure and Control
(SPCC) plan at its Lockwood
Street facility. Atlas has agreed to
pay $32,000 for its past violations,
   More than 38,000 gallons of foam were used to extinguish the tire fire
   nearWestley, California.
                                                  January 2000
has since developed an SPCC plan,
and has agreed to take actions
necessary to minimize the risk of
an oil spill at its facility. EPA
recently settled with another
Newark company, Hudson Tank,
for similar violations. (See Oil
Spill Program  Update, October
1999, for more information on the
Hudson Tank settlement.)

"These plans are critical to efforts
to protect our waterways because
they prevent spills and help contain
and control them if they do occur,"
said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional
Administrator.  "Spills are certainly
easier to prevent than to clean up.
A few relatively simple preventive
measures taken now can avert a lot
of headaches in the  future."

In addition to paying the $32,000
penalty, Atlas Refining has capped
pipelines that are no longer in
service or are on stand-by service
for extended periods of time, and is
in the process of building
secondary containment, usually
consisting of a cement berm,
around all if its large storage tanks.
In addition, Atlas will replace its
wooden fish oil tanks and perform
upgrades of various pipelines.

Since December 1998, facilities
across the Region have been issued
or paid fines for a total of $335,000
for violations of the SPCC
requirements of the Clean Water
Act. Any facility that stores more
than 1,320 gallons of oil or oil
derivative in aboveground storage
tanks must develop  plans to
prevent spills from  occurring, and
must implement these plans by
installing secondary containment
around storage tanks and other
areas where oil could be spilled.

 6 Oil Spill Program Update
These plans must be certified by a
professional engineer and must be
reviewed at least once every three

For more information contact
Mary Mears, U.S. EPA, Region 2,
New Jersey, New York, Puerto
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,
290 Broadway, New York, NY
10007-1866, at (212) 637-3669, or
at www.epa.gov/region2.

Koch  Industries



Covering  310


Koch Industries agreed to pay $35
million in penalties to settle 2
federal lawsuits covering 310 oil
spills. The spills released an
estimated 75,000 barrels of oil into
navigable waterways and wetlands
in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas,
Missouri, Alabama, and Kansas.
The lawsuits, involving 15 spills in
Oklahoma and 295 spills in Texas,
were to be tried on October 25 and
in late November, 1999,
respectively, but have been pulled
from court calendars. A separate
federal grand jury is investigating
whether criminal charges should be

Koch Industries recognized that it
was in violation of the Clean Water
Act and would have to  pay fines,
but expected the amount not to
exceed $7.5 million ($100  per
barrel spilled). Koch officials
stated that they have reduced
pipeline leaks by 96 percent over
the past 10 years and have
consistent ly met Department of
Transportation standards.
Government attorneys could have
sought damages of up to $3,000 per
barrel, for a total of $225 million.

Government officials allege that
Koch failed to take proper safety
precautions when transporting oil
through environmentally sensitive
areas.  Department of Justice
environmental attorney Michael
Goodstein reported that three
pipeline experts reviewed Koch
Industries records and concluded
that the company has not met
industry standards for pipeline
operations. Court documents show
that over 60 percent of the spills
were caused by corrosion and
could have been prevented.
Government attorneys also are
questioning the accuracy of Koch
Industries' statements regarding
how much oil was spilled.

Koch Industries is also embroiled
in allegations of oil theft from
Indian and federal leases through
mis-measurement of purchases
from 1986 to 1992. Bill Koch,
suing through a "whistle-blower"
law that allows him to receive one-
third of any settlement payments,
alleges that the company
intentionally mis-measures—taking
                                                January 2000
more oil than it actually pays for.
In 1998, Bill Koch was fired from
Koch Industries after claiming that
he was cheated when he sold his
shares back to the company.

Conoco Tank




An aboveground storage tank at
Oklahoma's largest oil refinery
exploded and burst into flames on
October 28, 1999. The tank at
Conoco refinery in Ponca City held
approximately 50,000 barrels of a
mixture of heavy and light gas oils.
It was being inspected for
insulation repairs by two Conoco
employees when it exploded. The
two employees suffered second and
third degree burns and were taken
to an Oklahoma City hospital for

An EPA on-scene coordinator and
a Superfund technical assistance
and response team were dispatched
to the site to conduct on-scene
monitoring. Damage to the tank
raised the possibility of an oil
discharge into the nearby Arkansas
River, but no oil spill was
observed. Environmental impacts
consisted of a heavy smoke plume
over the nearby city of 23,500
residents. The local fire
department advised area residents
to stay indoors until the fire was
extinguished and the smoke
cleared. In addition to the smoke,
the fire released burnt particles and
pieces of the tank's foam
insulation; debris was scattered up
to five miles away. A preliminary

 7 Oil Spill Program Update
Quick response to the Conoco tank fire
minimized impacts on the environment.

damage estimate of $1.5 million
was given by the refinery manager.

A quick response to the explosion
helped to minimize its impacts to
safety and the environment. City
police and fire departments, and
sanitation workers had cordoned
off surrounding streets within
minutes of being notified of the
explosion. Conoco and Ponca City
firefighters extinguished the flames
within four hours. The cause of the
accident was initially unknown,
spurring investigations by the
Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, EPA, and the
Oklahoma Department of
Environmental Quality.

Region 5

Responds to

LPG Leak

On August 13, 1999,  firefighters
responding to a brush fire at the
Lake Underground Storage site in
Painesville Township, Ohio
noticed an oil leak at the site. The
leak was detected in pipe fittings
between two of the four abandoned
liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
tanks on the site. The 4 tanks were
estimated to contain 70,000 gallons
of LPG.
On August 16, 1999, the Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency,
the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard
Marine Safety Office Cleveland,
the Lake County Health
Department, and the Painesville
Township Fire Chief visited the
site to observe the leak. On
September 16, 1999, equipment
and personnel were mobilized on
the site to begin removal of oil
from the tanks. Actions at the site
should prevent the leak from
reaching the nearby  Mentor Marsh
State Nature Preserve,  which feeds
Lake Erie.
Testing  Spi
Response  Tools
at  Ohmsett

Where can you test oil spill
response systems, skimmers,
booms, and oil spill detection
devices? Ohmsett, the National Oil
Spill Response Test Facility,
located in Leonardo, New Jersey
exists just for that purpose.
                                                January 2000
Ohmsett is a Department of the
Interior, Minerals Management
Service facility, which is
maintained and operated by a
private contractor.

The main feature of the Ohmsett
facility is a concrete tank that can
be filled with 2.7 million gallons of
brackish water from a nearby bay.
The tank, which is above ground
and is approximately  200 meters
long, is capable of testing towing
equipment at speeds of up to 6.5
knots. The tank's wave generator is
capable of creating waves up to
three feet high and can also create
a harbor chop. A centrifuge system
is used to recover and recycle test
oil from the tank.

In addition to providing a testing
ground for oil spill response
equipment, oil spill response
training can also be provided at
Ohmsett for some techniques and
equipment. Training is provided
through the National  Spill School
at Texas A&M University, a
recognized leader in hazardous
material spill training.
      Aerial view of the Ohmsett oil spill test facility in Leonardo, New Jersey-
      2.7 million gallon tank can simulate a variety of response conditions.

 8 Oil Spill Program Update
Actor and entrepreneur Kevin
Costner was recently on hand at
Ohmsett for a demonstration of the
facility's new oil purification
system. The system enables the oil
used in tank tests to be more
effectively recycled. The main  part
of the new system is the Costner
Industries Nevada Corporation
(CINC) V-10 oil separator. CINC,
owned by Kevin and Dan Costner,
was established in 1993  after the
brothers became interested in cost-
effective oil/water separator

For more information on Ohmsett's
testing or training, see the facility's
web site at www.ohmsett.com,  or
call Bill Schmidt, the program
manager, at (732) 866-7183.
Recent  Oil  Spill


Jet Fuel Spill in Alaska

An estimated 7,000 gallons of
aviation jet fuel was spilled
October 31, 1999, when 10 Alaska
Railroad cars, each containing
20,000 gallons of the fuel, derailed
north of Talkeetna.

Because of a railroad spill plan
mandated in  1998, Alaska
Department of Environmental
Conservation personnel and
railroad crews were on-scene and
taking measures the day of the
spill. Fuel was pumped from the
remaining tanks, including the
damaged one, and the spill was
contained quickly. The spill
preparedness plan was mandated
after a similar but more severe
166,000 gallon fuel spill in 1990 to
sensitive wetlands, when it was
discovered the railroad was then
exempt from submitting a spill
response plan to the state.

Absorbent material and a vacuum
truck were used to contain the spill.
Railroad officials reported the
damaged tank was leaking at
approximately four gallons a
minute. The last 10 cars that
derailed for as yet unknown
reasons were part of a 46-tank train
carrying the jet fuel from the
Williams Refinery in North Pole to
Vancouver Harbor Canola
Oil Spill Threatens Birds

As much as 20 metric tons of
canola oil was spilled into
Vancouver Harbor on November
21, 1999. Experts predict that the
spill could kill as many as 2,000
sea birds. A spokesmen for one
wildlife rescue agency speculated
that up to 400 oiled birds might be
captured but "the majority will die
before anybody will ever reach
them." Because winds blew most
of the oil away from the shoreline,
the birds that were primarily
affected were  sea-going grebes,
which are very unlikely to come to
shore  where they can be captured.
A similar canola oil spill that
occurred in the same area in
October 1998 killed at least 350
migratory birds.
Rare Pelican Rescued from
Oil Spill

A rare white pelican that was
exposed to oil from a spill at the
Industrial Highway site near the
                                                  January 2000
Airport is being
and readied
for return to
the wild,
according to
sources. The
pelican was
captured November 19, 1999, after
spending six days at the site.

The bird had toxic pH levels from
exposure to a crude oil and water
mixture. The pelican was
transported by a private airline to
Orlando, Florida for rehabilitation,
where it will receive additional
care for several weeks by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. It will
be released when its flock arrives
in the Orlando area. Pelican rescue,
transport, and rehabilitation was
performed by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Services, Pan Am
Airlines, and McAfee Animal
Human Error Significant
Factor in Tank Farm

A recent study states that the rate
of accidents at breakout tanks and
long-term storage terminals over
the last 10 years has remained
relatively constant, and that
operator error accounted for 22
percent of the accidents. Breakout
tanks are used  for temporary
storage of oil products along
pipelines. Both breakout tanks and
storage terminals associated with
pipelines are regulated by the U.S.
Department of Transportation.

 9 Oil Spill Program Update
The study was performed by EFA
Technologies using data from the
U.S. Department of Transportation.
Using data from 312 accidents at
tank farms over a 10-year period,
investigators revealed that 55
percent of the accidents were
attributable to tank failure, 22
percent to operator error, 10
percent to valve failure, 4 percent
to pump failure, and 3 percent to
bolted fitting failure. The
investigators concluded that the
accident frequency rate of breakout
tanks and certain long-term storage
terminals shows no statistically
significant changes.

Human error was the cause of all
the accidents that resulted in
fatalities within the study period.
Human error was also to blame for
88 percent of the stock loss and 87
percent of the property damage.
Human error accidents often
resulted from operator inattention
or inadequate maintenance;
common causes were tank overfills
or safety violations. Study
investigators suggested
improvements in safety programs
and ongoing training and
performance evaluations.

Mystery Spill in California

A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman
stated that the hundreds of gallons
of crude oil that flowed into
Ballona Creek in October 1999
were probably the result of runoff
from a natural seep or a drainage
system near the La Brea Tar Pits.

The Coast Guard stated that the oil
may be coming from a
malfunctioning sump designed to
collect natural tar and oil runoff
from areas with natural oil
deposits, and that the runoff may
have accidentally flowed into a
storm drain that emptied into a

The oil was discovered October 11.
Response workers collected
approximately 500 gallons of oil
from a drainage pipe that drained
into Ballona Creek. Ballona Creek
empties into Santa Monica Bay
near Marina Del Ray. Workers
plugged the pipe and set up barriers
to prevent the oil from reaching the
ocean, then collected the oil. There
has been no reported damage to the
wetlands or ocean, according to the
Coast Guard, though officials were
unsure whether wildlife was

Texas Refiners Fined for
Pollution Violations

The Texas Natural Resource
Conservation Commission ordered
two Corpus Christi refiners to pay
fines of more than $928,000 for
environmental violations at their
facilities. The fines are a result of
the TNRCC's Refinery Row
initiative, directed at cleaning up
groundwater contamination at
Corpus Christi refineries and their
surrounding areas.

CITGO Refining and Chemicals
Co. L.P. was fined $650,000, but
the penalty was  offset in return for
the company's agreement to
contribute $325,000 to the Nature
Conservancy; Amerada Hess
Corporation was fined $278,000,
but the penalty was offset in return
for the company's agreement to
contribute $139,000 to the Coastal
Conservation Association. Both
companies were cited for
groundwater and wastewater
                                                   January 2000
discharge violations, and are
required to bring their refineries
into compliance with state and
federal laws.

Coordinated Response
Works Well in Simulated

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air
Force Reserves, Texas General
Land Office Oil Spill Prevention
and Response Division, and private
contractors practiced air and sea oil
spill response actions in the Gulf of
Mexico off Texas in August 1999.
The exercise was designed to
practice the logistics of
coordinating different response
resources. Participants used the
Marine Spill Response
Corporation-owned 210-foot Lone
Star Responder, Coast Guard
Helicopters, an Air Force Reserve
C-130 airplane, and a contractor's
DC-4 airplane to spot and respond
to a simulated oil spill, composed
of biodegradable green dye. The
exercise "slick" was 20 yards wide
by two miles  long; aircraft sprayed
fresh water on the "slick" to
simulate dispersant application.

Pump Detects Oil, Shuts Off

SEEwater Inc.'s industrial pump
may prevent future oil spills. The
company's Oil Smart® switch
senses the presence of oil on the
surface of water and automatically
shuts off the water pump it is
attached to before the oil is
discharged. The switches have
industrial, commercial, and private
applications. For more information,
go to the SEEwater web site at
www. breath-of. com/seewater/

 10 Oil Spill Program Update
Sensitive beach environment near
Guadalupe, California.

Beach  Cleanup May
Damage Coastal

The California Coastal
Commission is considering a plan
to clean up an oil spill that
occurred over a 30-year period
from the 1950s to the 1980s. The
planned cleanup would seemingly
violate the state's Coastal Act for
shoreline protection. The beach in
Guadalupe, California was once an
active oil field, with 220 oil wells
producing  approximately 5,000
gallons a day for the Union Oil
Company (Unocal).

Surfers discovered the oil leaks in
1988. In 1998, Unocal agreed to a
$43.8 million settlement; the
company has also agreed to fund
beach cleanup and reconstruction.
The only way to clean up the
pollution is to dig it up, according
to the county planning department.
The Guadalupe beachfront is
currently considered a sensitive
wildlife area and is home to 57
endangered species.

Oil Refinery Air Emissions

EPA reports that between 40 and
50 percent of the oil refineries in
the United States are violating the
Clean Air Act. EPA states that the
troubled refineries are located
throughout the country and are not
concentrated in any specific
Regions. Modifications to the
refineries' cracking units, which
process crude oil, are said to be the
typical source of the emissions
violations. EPA is holding
settlement talks with several oil
companies, and expects to settle
many of the cases fairly quickly.


Freshwater Spills
Symposium 2000

The Freshwater Spills Symposium
2000 will be held March 6-8, 2000,
in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The
symposium is a joint effort of the
U.S. EPA Oil Program Center
Headquarters; U.S. EPA Regions 1,
5, 6, 7, and 9; the Michigan
Department of Environmental
Quality; the U.S. EPA Office of
Research and Development; the
U.S. EPA Environmental Response
Team, BP Amoco, California Fish
& Game; the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service; the U.S. Coast Guard Gulf
Strike Team; a NOAA/Scientific
Support Coordinator; and the
Department of Transportation's
Office of Pipeline Safety. See the
symposium web site at
www.epa.gov/oilspill/fss for
schedule information and a listing
of the issues to be addressed. You
can register on line at the
symposium web site at
by faxing your name, address,
organization, phone number, and
fax number to Amy Smidt at (703)
461-2020; by mailing your
information to oilinfo@
                                                 January 2000
epamail.epa.gov; or by sending the
information via regular mail to
DynCorp, I&ET, Attn: Amy Smidt,
6101 Stevenson Avenue,
Alexandria, VA 22304.

Inland Oil Spill Training
Planned for April

The EPA Environmental Response
Team (ERT) hopes to present a
five-day training course on inland
oil spills in April 2000 at Fort Dix,
New Jersey.  The training will
cover the Oil Pollution Act of 1990
and the Oil Spill Liability Trust
Fund, revisions to the National
Contingency Plan, technical issues
specific to inland spills, cleanup
and treatment technologies, and oil
spill prevention.

ERT will only present the course if
a significant number of people are
interested in attending.  For more
details about the training, or to
express your interest in the inland
spills course, please contact ERT at
Environmental Response Training
Program, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, 26 W. Martin
Luther King Drive (B-3),
Cincinnati, OH 45268 or by
telephone at (513)251-7769 or

News From the Minerals
Management Service

New Technical Report - Oil Spills
in Marshes

The latest technical report from the
Minerals Management Service,
Effects and Management of Oil
Spills in Marsh Ecosystems: A
Review Produced From a
Workshop Convened July 1996 at
McNeese State University, is now

 11 Oil Spill Program Update
available. The report contains titles
such as "Effects of Oil on Marsh
Macrophytes," "Effects of
Petroleum Hydrocarbons on
Coastal Marsh Biogeochemical
Processes," and "Use of Cleaners
in Removing Oil from Marsh
Plants: Response of Selected U.S.
Gulf Coast Species." Copies can be
obtained by writing the  U.S.
Department of the Interior,
Minerals Management Service,
Gulf of Mexico OCS Region,
Public Information Office (MS
5034), 1201ElmwoodPark
Boulevard, New Orleans, LA
70123-2394,  or by calling 1-800-

Oil in the Sea Update Effort

The National Research Council's
Ocean Studies Board (OSB) has
initiated work on updating its 1985
report, Oil in the Sea; Inputs,
Fates, and Effects. Work on the
report has been broken into two
phases. The OSB has begun the
first phase of the update—covering
oil inputs to the marine
environment. The second phase
will update the sections on fates
and effects of oil. The Minerals
Management Service is looking for
partners to co-sponsor the second
phase. Approximately $450,000 is
needed and can be spread over a
few fiscal years. Firm
commitments are needed by the
end of February 2000. Ken
Turgeon (ken.turgeon@ mms.gov),
Chief Scientist for MMS, and Dan
Walker (dwalker@nas.edu),
Project Officer for the OSB, are
contacts for the project.

The Effects of Oil on
Wildlife Conference

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research,
Inc. will host the Sixth
International Conference on the
Effects of Oil on Wildlife, March
30-31, 2000, in Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina.  Topics to be
covered include wildlife
rehabilitation and research,
standards for oiled wildlife care,
international issues, and safety and
training issues. Registration
information will be distributed in
January 2000. For more
information, contact Dr. Virginia
Pierce or Dr. Heidi Stout at Tri-
State Bird Rescue, (302)737-7241
(telephone) or (302)737-9562

New Address for EPA

Effective January 1, 2000, the
official EPA Headquarters mailing
address will change to:
Ariel Rios  Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Although the mailing address is
changing, Headquarters mail will
continue to be delivered to and
sorted from the Waterside Mall
facility.  This will continue until
                                                 January 2000
the Mail Room moves to the
Interstate Commerce Commission
Building in 2002.

Vendor and/or courier packages
sent to any of the Headquarters
buildings must continue to use the
actual street address and room
number of the employee receiving
the package.  These packages do
not go through the Mail Room at
Waterside Mall for delivery.

If you have any questions, please
call Rich Lemley at (202) 564-

New Region 6 Outreach Web
Site Address

Outreach guides for Federal Oil
Pollution Prevention Regulation
can now be found at www.epa.gov/
earthIr6/6sf/sfsites/oil/. Please
note  the change in address.
 The Oil Spill Program
 Update and  The Oil
 DROP will not be
 issued in April. Look for
 a special issue in  May
 covering happenings of
 the Freshwater Spills
 Symposium  2000,
 which will  be held from
 March 6-8, 2000,  in
 Albuquerque,  New