Fuel dealer fined for failing to report, respond to fuel release

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation announced that Webber Discount Fuel Inc. of Sunderland was fined $1,500 for failing to report a release of heating oil to the environment and failing to take appropriate responsive actions to protect the public and environment from the release.

In January 2019, Keith Webber of Webber Discount Fuel released fuel oil on Melendy Hill Road in South Londonderry when his delivery truck experienced a mechanical failure. Webber then left the site without taking appropriate action to contain the release and without reporting the spill to DEC. The South Londonderry Fire Department responded to the site after a nearby resident reported the release. Contaminated snow and soil were removed from the site after Webber, at the direction of the agency, returned with a contractor to clean up the release.

Heating oil is a hazardous material that, when released to the environment, can contaminate soils, drinking and surface water, and pose a threat to public health. Vermont law requires any spill of hazardous materials or waste over two gallons be immediately reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The law also requires responsible individuals to take all appropriate immediate actions to contain the release. Once notified, the DEC Spills Program assesses the environmental impact of hazardous materials spills and oversees and directs cleanup where necessary.

“Immediately reporting and taking actions to control hazardous material releases are critical steps to protecting the environment and public health,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC commissioner. “Our priority is to quickly assess and minimize threats to public health or sensitive environmental areas such as drinking water sources. Slow responses and delayed reporting stymie these efforts.”

Webber agreed to pay a $1,500 fine for the violations. The agreement was incorporated into an Assurance of Discontinuance and entered as a Final Judicial Order by the Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division Dec. 23, 2019.

For more information about DEC’s Waste Management and Prevention Division including information about how to report a spill as well as a database of recently reported spills, visit www.dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/storage-tanks.

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