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Aloha Petroleum to pay $650,000 fine for tank violations

HILO >> Aloha Petroleum has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle Clean Air and Clean Water acts violations at its Hilo East bulk fuel storage terminal and install spill containment at its fuel storage facilities statewide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Aloha Petroleum, a subsidiary of Sunoco, recently shut down operations at the facility, which is one of the company’s two fuel storage facilities near Hilo Harbor. The Environmental Protection Agency said the company cannot reopen the terminal until vapor controls are installed and oil spill containment is improved, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/1NQpYln).

“This enforcement action ensures that harmful gasoline vapors will be controlled at the Hilo East Terminal,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. “And Aloha Petroleum will be upgrading its oil containment basins, which are made of coral rock and too porous to prevent spilled fuel from leaking into the environment.”

An unfiled legal complaint prepared by the U.S. Attorney says that problems with fuel vapor emissions at the Hilo terminal occurred after a new ethanol line was added and components of two existing gasoline lines were replaced in 2006. The problems intensified in 2008, according to the complaint, when Aloha replaced components of an existing diesel line and again replaced components of the two existing gasoline lines.

The unfiled complaint also points to problems with a Nov. 2011 fuel spill at the Hilo terminal, when about 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel were released into the secondary containment area within the primary tank farm.

“Within hours and before the cleanup of the (diesel) could occur, all but approximately 65 gallons . permeated through the containment floor,” the complaint states.

Aloha agreed to make oil spill containment improvements at five facilities: Hilo West Facility; Kahului Terminal on Maui; Nawaliwili Terminal in Lihue, Kauai; Barbers Point Terminal in Kapolei, Oahu; and Honolulu Terminal.

Aloha Petroleum said in a written statement released Wednesday that the company is making improvements to the tank farm voluntarily.

“Four out of six terminals owned by Aloha Petroleum were acquired in late 2010 shortly after the EPA liner requirement went into effect,” the company said. “However, none of the acquired terminals had impervious liners installed and Aloha Petroleum has committed to installing such liners. Aloha Petroleum has already completed the installation of impervious liners at three terminals (Hilo West, Kahului and Nawiliwili). The remaining terminals are expected to have liners completed no later than December 2016.”

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