EPA reaches settlements with oil facilities in Kansas for alleged CWA violations

Nov. 19, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently has reached settlements with two Hays, Kansas, crude oil production facilities for allegedly discharging oil into the Saline River, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. According to EPA, R.P. Nixon Operations Inc. released approximately 165 barrels of oil in 2016, and Empire Energy E&P LLC released approximately 16 barrels in 2019.

EPA inspections of the companies’ facilities conducted after the reported discharges revealed additional violations of regulations intended to prevent and contain oil spills.

Under the terms of the settlements, R.P. Nixon and Empire Energy agreed to pay civil penalties of $50,000 and $37,000, respectively. R.P. Nixon also agreed to take actions to achieve compliance at approximately 90 of its oil production facilities in Kansas.

Facilities that store 1,320 gallons or greater of oil products in aboveground storage tanks are subject to Clean Water Act regulations that require, among other things, accurate facility diagrams, equipment maintenance plans, and proper containment to contain oil releases. EPA alleges that the companies failed to comply with these requirements, and that such noncompliance contributed to the discharges to the Saline River.

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