Press-Republican

Environment

June 13, 2013

Ticonderoga fined for oil spill

TICONDEROGA — The Town of Ticonderoga has been fined $86,500 for an oil spill at its Highway Department garage, with all but $40,000 suspended if it takes steps to prevent future incidents.

The spill of up to 60 gallons of home-heating fuel in February was not reported to the State Department of Environmental Conservation for 15 days, which prompted an investigation and now the fine.

Any spill of more than 5 gallons must be reported to the DEC, but Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said the members of the highway crew who allowed the oil to spill said they were not aware of that requirement.

The oil was simply cleaned up, she said, but then an anonymous complaint was made to the State DEC Spill Tip Line.

SEEN AS FAIR

DEC could have fined the town up to $37,000 a day for each day the spill was not reported, Malaney said, so she believes the penalty imposed was fair.

“The fine will come out of the town general fund, and highway budget line items will be reduced. The Highway Department will be able to stay within its budget (for the year).”

The spill occurred as heating oil was being transferred from a 1,000-gallon outside tank to a 250-gallon inside tank. A valve was left unattended, allowing oil to overflow to the concrete garage floor, Malaney said.

MANDATORY TRAINING

She said no one has been fired or disciplined for the spill, but there will be mandatory environmental safety training for all Highway Department employees.

“There will be an extreme focus on safety training, with spill response featured in that,” Malaney said. “We are taking care of it as completely and thoroughly as we possibly can.”

DEC sent the town a 19-page report of its findings along with the notice of the fine of $86,500, she said.

CONDITIONS

“The DEC would agree to suspend the remaining $46,500 of the fine on the condition that the town complies with the terms of the order,” she said. “They have a list of eight.”

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