California companies must improve oil spill prevention plans

Aug. 6, 2015

LOS ANGELES — U.S. EPA fines Safety-Kleen Systems in Newark and Cargill Corporation in Fullerton.

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resolved a series of settlements under the Clean Water Act with Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., in Newark, California, and Cargill Corporation, in Fullerton, California, according to an Aug. 5 press release. Both companies violated federal oil pollution prevention regulations. Safety-Kleen must pay a $90,000 fine, and Cargill was fined $45,000.

"All companies who store oil must comply with federal standards. Facilities are required to prevent spills and be prepared to respond to a worst case oil discharge emergency,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Preventing spills and protecting our waterways from oil spills is essential."

Safety-Kleen, a waste oil recycler in Newark, Calif., failed for the following reasons:

  • Failed to provide secondary containment around an oil storage area
  • Did not secure and control access to oil handling, processing and storage areas
  • Failed to use safe containers and good engineering practices, including liquid level alarms, to avoid discharges
  • Did not develop a complete Facility Response Plan

Cargill Corporation, which operates a vegetable oil terminal and packaging facility in Fullerton, was fined because of the following:

  • Failure to update and recertify its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan for its Fullerton facility
  • Not providing adequate oil containment and drainage controls
  • Not ensuring that the secondary containment walls of the East Tank Farm could contain spilled oil
  • Failure to remove accumulations of oil outside tanks and piping, transfer areas and process area collection trenches

Recently, EPA settled with four smaller California companies because they violated oil pollution prevention regulations, according to the press release. These companies are:

  • Antioch Building Materials — The Pittsburg, California, company was fined $2,775 because it failed provide a proper SPCC plan, implement tank inspection and integrity testing programs, and provide documentation of employee training.
  • JC Greasebuyers — For failure to provide a proper SPCC plan, using improper containers for storing oil and failure to implement a tank integrity testing program to prevent releases, the Riverside, California, company was fined $2,400.
  • Gemsa Oil — The La Mirada, California, company was fined $2,250 because it failed to provide a proper SPCC plan and have adequate secondary containment for vegetable oil storage tanks.
  • SoCal Pumping — Because the Riverside, California company failed to provide a proper SPCC plan and complete inspection records, it was fined $2,400. It also did not have an adequate tank integrity testing program or proper oil drum secondary containment.

To read the full release, visit

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