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U.S. OIL AND TEXACO FINED FOR PIPELINE SPILLS BY WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY

 U.S. OIL AND TEXACO FINED FOR PIPELINE SPILLS
 BY WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Oil & Refining Co., Tacoma, Wash., and Texaco Refining & Marketing Inc., Anacortes, Wash., have been fined a total of $65,000 by the Washington State Department of Ecology for two oil spills earlier this year, the department announced today.
 U.S. Oil was fined $45,000 for a 600,000 gallon oil spill which occurred on Jan. 6 when a 16-inch underground pipeline broke. A $20,000 fine was issued to Texaco for a 210,000 gallon oil spill that resulted from the catastrophic failure of a crude oil booster pump on Feb. 22.
 Ecology found U.S. Oil negligent for not protecting their buried pipeline right-of-way. Only one foot of soil covered the pipeline where the rupture occurred, and there were no warning signs over any portion of the 5,000-foot pipeline.
 "The break apparently resulted from heavy equipment operating directly over the pipeline," said Steve Hunter, Ecology assistant director. "Because of negligence, U.S. Oil received a larger fine than Texaco."
 The failure of the Texaco pipeline pump was caused by the pump's age and brittleness of the cast iron, not improper or inadequate maintenance. Up to 40,000 gallons of oil are estimated to have reached Fidalgo Bay killing 200 birds and damaging eelgrass beds.
 Texaco will also be issued a resource damage assessment for environmental damages caused by the spill, Hunter added.
 "In the wake of the January spill, U.S. Oil installed a leak detection system in its pipeline," Hunter said. "Texaco currently is considering whether to install a pipeline leak detection system."
 In September, Ecology ordered the two companies to submit plans demonstrating how they will prevent future oil spills from pipelines at their refineries.
 The federal government is also pursuing enforcement action under the federal Oil Pollution Act. Ecology is coordinating its enforcement and corrective action efforts with federal agencies.
 The state penalties can be appealed to Ecology and/or the Pollution Control Hearings Board.
 -0- 12/4/91
 /CONTACT: John Vial, 206-459-6818, or Ron Holcomb, 206-459-6149, both of the Washington State Department of Ecology/ CO: Washington State Department of Ecology ST: Washington IN: SU:


JH-LM -- SE010 -- 9304 12/04/91 14:56 EST
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Date:Dec 4, 1991
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