The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with Red Mountain Truck Lines, Inc. (Red Mountain), in which Red Mountain agreed to pay $18,000 for alleged Clean Water Act violations associated with a gas station transfer incident which spilled diesel fuel into Blacktail Creek in Butte, Montana in 2021.
“EPA takes our role of protecting public health and our environmental resources very seriously in all the communities we serve,” said EPA Region 8 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division Director Suzanne Bohan. “Companies that handle, store and transport oil must carefully follow safety measures to prevent oil spills from occurring, and Red Mountain failed to take the necessary care.”
On January 30, 2021, a fuel delivery involving a truck owned by Red Mountain released approximately 450 to 485 gallons of diesel fuel into Blacktail Creek. The spill occurred as a result of an overfill of an underground storage tank at a Town Pump Convenience Store in Butte. The diesel fuel traveled down a storm drain into wetlands adjacent to the creek and into the creek itself.
Red Mountain’s environmental consultant reported the spill to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on January 30, 2021, and to the National Response Center on February 3, 2021. Red Mountain worked with the MDEQ Underground Storage Tank Division to contain and clean up the spill. There were no reported impacts to drinking water or downstream users.
The Clean Water Act prohibits discharging oil, including fuel products, into navigable waters of the United States in quantities with the potential to harm public health or the environment. Additional Federal requirements exist to prevent oil spills and to help facilities prepare to for how to respond to an oil spill. These include oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasure rules as well as Federal Facility Response Plans.