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A&I Distributors accepts EPA penalty

Automotive & Industrial Distributors agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $38,500 penalty for violations of the federal Clean Water Act requirements related to the prevention of oil spills, EPA said in a release. The alleged violations occurred at an oil storage and distribution facility operated by A&I at 2806 S. 5th Ave. in Pocatello.

EPA alleges that A&I violated federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures regulations specified under the Clean Water Act. The regulations require that facilities handling or storing a certain volume of oil take specific actions to prepare for and prevent spills, the agency said. The requirements include having a detailed, written plan to guide the facility on a variety of measures for preventing and responding to petroleum spills.

During an EPA inspection of the A&I facility in September 2008, inspectors observed several violations of these regulations, most notably the failure to prepare and implement an adequate Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan. Several storm drains near the facility discharge directly to the Portneuf River, which is a spawning habitat for trout, EPA said. The Portneuf River feeds the Portneuf Aquifer, a source of drinking water.

Edward Kowalski, EPA director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, said the regulations are designed so that control measures are in place before a spill occurs, and companies that handle or store oil must comply. Developing plans, installing containment structures and taking other safety measures helps ensure that spills won’t occur, and if they do, that they are contained, he said.

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