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College fined over oil spill.

LANCASTER - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $9,703 penalty to Atlantic Union College, in Lancaster, following a 2008 release of fuel oil that occurred at its Power House building located at 51 Maple St. and impacted a nearby steam. The Power House provides electricity to Atlantic Union College.

On the morning of Aug. 4, 2008, a release of No. 2 fuel oil occurred from a diesel engine for one of the electric generators inside the Power House. Approximately 300 gallons of fuel oil released into floor drains located on the concrete floor inside the building. The oil discharged into a storm water system and then into a nearby stream, impacting over 6,000 feet of surface water.

Later that day, an anonymous caller alerted the Lancaster Fire Department, which then informed MassDEP of the release. MassDEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded to the scene and took actions to contain the release. College employees had believed that the floor drains were sealed, and that the spilled oil was contained within the building. But the drains were not sealed.

Atlantic Union College performed the necessary clean up actions, removing oil from the stream and underground drainage system, according to a release from MassDEP. Impacted soil was excavated, and the floor drain system was properly sealed. The college agreed to pay the penalty for its failure to notify and failure to perform response actions in a timeframe established by the MassDEP regulations.

"Timely responses to oil spills are critical to minimize impacts to streams, wetlands and the surrounding environment," said Mary Gardner, deputy director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "The college has since taken comprehensive actions to address the spill."

In a statement, AUC President Norman Wendth acknowledged that the consent order was signed by the college on March 8.

"The consent order was negotiated in full and agreed to by both parties," Wendth said in the statement. The college moved promptly to cover its share in the matter and continues to fully support MassDEP."
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 14, 2010
Words:342
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