California Fuel Leak Prompts $2.25 Million Penalty
Chevron Corp. has been fined $2.25 million after 4.5 million gallons of jet fuel at its El Segundo, Calif., refinery leaked into groundwater from 1998 to1999, according to a Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The proposed fine is the second largest in the board’s history. "The magnitude of the release justifies the size of the fine," said Dennis Dickerson, executive officer of the water board, to the Los Angeles Times. "It is clear to us that the leak should have been detected and stopped much earlier."
Rod Spackman, Chevron's manager of Los Angeles government and public affairs, said: "We undertook an aggressive effort, taking the line out of service as soon as this was discovered in February 1999. We have since cleaned up 60 percent of the fuel incursion and believe this assessment was premature."
The Old Dune Sand Aquifer, into which the fuel was spilled, is not used for drinking water. It has been contaminated by previous fuel spills from the Chevron refinery, and water board officials said the new spill could set back cleanup efforts by at least three years.
The state fine was announced less than a week after Chevron agreed to pay $7 million in fines and environmental improvements to settle federal charges that the El Segundo refinery violated clean air laws in the 1990s.
(Source: Environment News Service)