Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Puerto Rico, USVI responders getting fire equipment after EPA settlement

By on October 1, 2019

Total is providing $110,000 worth of gear

SAN JUAN – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Total Petroleum Puerto Rico Corp. will provide the island’s Public Safety Department, and the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Department of the Virgin Islands Ports Authority with $110,000 worth of emergency equipment as part of a settlement of alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governing handling hazardous waste.

Total Petroleum is a distributor for gas stations and aviation fuel supply at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, Puerto Rico; the Guaynabo Bulk Terminal, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; and the Cyril King Airport in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, USVI.

“This settlement ensures that Total Petroleum is complying with hazardous waste laws at the same time it provides a concrete benefit to the communities in areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands where the company supplies fuel,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Through this settlement, we are not only reducing the chance of a mishap resulting from poor hazardous waste practices, we are also improving emergency preparedness at these facilities by improving the equipment that would be used to respond to any mishaps at these facilities.”

The new equipment and gear will aid responders in addressing fires and emergencies that may cause serious damage to properties, human health, and the environment.

According to the EPA, in August 2015 and March and April 2017, the agency inspected the three facilities and cited Total for six violations: failure to make a hazardous waste determination; operation of hazardous waste storage facilities without a RCRA permit; failure to minimize risk; failure to have a proper contingency plan; failure to maintain containers with hazardous waste closed and in good condition; and, failure to comply with universal waste management requirements.

Total has corrected the violations and has committed in the settlement to maintain compliance. The settlement includes a penalty of $180,000 for past violations.

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