Three petroleum companies have agreed to fund the cleanup of an abandoned, decaying bulk fuel storage site in Bessemer, AL.
According to a January 6 AL.com article, the U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a civil lawsuit in 2012 against the abandoned fuel depot’s current and former owners, saying they failed to prevent fuel from leaking from their underground storage tanks into the nearby Valley Creek.
As part of the Justice Department’s consent decree, Bessemer Petroleum Inc., Tri-State Petroleum Products LLC and Twin States Petroleum Products LLC will all have to pay a $20,000 civil fine and an additional $240,000 to repay a federal agency for handling the site’s various spills and leaks throughout the last decade, AL.com reports.
The abandoned fuel storage and distribution facility sits on about four acres near Valley Creek, and is home to 27 above-ground storage tanks that are non-operating. The site also holds four underground fuel storage tanks, as well as an oil and water separator. When it was in operation, this facility could have held 179,000 gallons of oil in both its above- and below-ground tanks.
In addition to their civil fines and reparations for past cleanup projects, all three companies will be required to fund a full, comprehensive cleanup of the facility under the terms of the consent decree, AL.com reports. The companies will finance everything from security measures like fencing and signage to site assessments of its soil and groundwater before and after the cleanup.
No estimate of how much the cleanup will cost the companies is currently available.
The EPA had inspected the site several times throughout the last decade or so, issuing multiple warnings and violations against the three companies. The Justice Department’s lawsuit details three separate incidents of petroleum leaks at the facility throughout the years, including the 2008 leak that resulted in fuel entering Valley Creek.