Ticonderoga has been fined $86,500 by the state for failing a report an oil spill earlier this year. The town must pay a $40,000 cash penalty imposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The remaining $46,500 fine has been suspended as long as Ti meets the stipulations of a 19-page finding issued by the DEC.
Ticonderoga has been fined $86,500 by the state for failing a report an oil spill earlier this year.
The town must pay a $40,000 cash penalty imposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The remaining $46,500 fine has been suspended as long as Ti meets the stipulations of a 19-page finding issued by the DEC. Failure to complete required training and other steps will mean Ti must pay the $46,500.
This past February about 20 gallons of heating oil spilled at the town highway garage, according to Supervisor Deb Malaney. It was quickly cleaned up by highway department workers, Malaney said.
The DEC report claims 60 gallons spilled.
The Ti highway garage has a 1,000-gallon tank outside with another 250-gallon tank inside. While oil was being transferred to the small tank a valve was left unattended and heating oil spilled. The spill was the result of human error, Malaney said.
DEC was informed, Malaney said, but not for several days.
“You’re required to report any spill of five gallons or more,” Malaney said. “It was a small spill and our highway workers were unaware they had to report it.”
An anonymous person reported the spill to the DEC and made Ticonderoga officials aware of their obligation to make full disclosure. At that time, several days after the spill, Ticonderoga filed a formal report with the DEC.
Ticonderoga could have been fined $37,000 a day for each day the spill was unreported — that could have cost Ticonderoga about $400,000.
“It (the fine) could have been a lot worse, so I think the DEC was very fair with us,” Malaney said. “Still, I’m certainly not satisfied this happened. This just can’t happen. The problem is, this is our second spill in three years.”
A gasoline spill in 2010 cost Ticonderoga $275,000 in fines, remediation of the affected area and corrective actions.
In that incident about two gallons of gasoline was spilled on the floor of the Ticonderoga highway garage. The spill was immediately cleaned up.
An unnamed community member learned of the accident and reported it to the DEC. That led to a DEC investigation.
While investigating the spill, the DEC officer saw an abandoned drain in the garage floor. Further investigation revealed the drain led to a dry well outside the garage. The drain and dry well were installed when the highway garage was built in 1953 and had not been used since the 1970s.
Concerned about possible past contamination, DEC ordered Ticonderoga to have soil samples taken from around the highway garage. Those samples revealed pollution.
More than 1,000 tons of contaminated soil had to be removed from the highway garage site. Besides removing polluted soil, the highway department was required to connect the floor drain to the public sewer system, upgrade its containment systems, improve its fuel storage area and keep smaller amounts of fuel on site.
Those actions and fines cost Ticonderoga $275,000, Malaney said.
The latest fine will be paid from the highway department’s equipment fund and will have no impact on the town’s 2013 budget, Malaney said.