Hillsboro oil supplier fined $50,000 for equipment issues
A Hillsboro-based oil and fuel supplier has been fined more than $50,000 by state environmental regulators for violating underground fuel storage requirements.
Two Bretthauer Oil Co. facilities located near Pacific Pride gas stations in Hillsboro received fines, according to notices issued in late April by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
At one facility, located at 453 S.W. Washington St., Bretthauer Oil officials failed to install, maintain and monitor a leak detection system on an underground fuel storage tank, DEQ officials said.
In addition to those same violations, officials at the other facility, located at 21180 N.W. Amberwood Dr., also failed to monitor the fuel storage tank for releases at least every 30 days, DEQ officials said.
The penalties at each facility combined for a total of $52,978 in fines.
DEQ issued the fines because proper leak detection testing and monitoring ensures that releases are discovered quickly before contamination spreads far from fuel storage tanks and allows for immediate response, officials said.
"If a leak goes unnoticed due to poor monitoring practices or unmaintained release detection equipment, the leaking fuel can have lasting harmful impacts on the environment or human health," DEQ's penalty notice read.
Testing spill and overfill equipment prevents small fuel spills from occurring when a delivery hose is disconnected from a storage tank and large spills when a storage tank is overfilled, DEQ officials added.
A spokesperson for Bretthauer Oil said the company is appealing the penalties.
"Bretthauer Oil takes its commitment to safety and environmentally conscious operations extremely seriously, as demonstrated by our long record of compliance and proactive sustainability measures," noted a statement from Bretthauer, sent by spokesperson Davina Foster. "While we acknowledge and will continue to comply with DEQ's regulations, Bretthauer Oil has appealed DEQ's notice and order and has no further comment at this time."
During inspections at the facilities by DEQ officials in October 2020, Bretthauer Oil officials were unable to provide results of tightness tests of its spill prevention equipment attached to underground storage tanks, according to DEQ officials.
They were also unable to provide results of tests on its overfill prevention equipment and annual tests of its automatic tank gauge, which monitors releases from the tanks, DEQ officials said.
Additionally, line leak detectors were improperly installed, according to DEQ officials.
Later in October, Bretthauer officials completed required tests on their storage tank components.
DEQ officials said they appreciated the efforts to correct the violation, and the actions were considered in the fine amounts.
They added, however, that there was concern Bretthauer has not installed a method of release detection on tank piping.
The company has been ordered to install such a method of release detection within 30 days of the notice of penalty, DEQ officials said.
More than $13,000 of the fined represented the economic benefit to Bretthauer of failing to install such equipment.
Officials from DEQ and Bretthauer will meet to discuss the penalties as a result of the company's appeal.
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