Jan 11, 2007

New England Bus Companies Settle EPA Charges

The New England regional office of the US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that three bus companies, owned and operated by Peter Pan Bus Lines, have agreed to pay $237,179 in penalties for violating federal clean air and water rules.

Providence Business News reports that the settlement involves Arrow Line Acquisition in Connecticut, Bonanza Acquisition in Rhode Island and Peter Pan Bus Lines in Massachusetts, all of which are owned by Peter Pan Bus Lines Trust of Springfield, Mass.

The EPA reported that all three companies violated Clean Water Act storm-water permit requirements, and federal oil-spill prevention regulations and associated spill-prevention plan requirements. Peter Pan also violated Massachusetts’ vehicle-idling limitations.

A Massachusetts anti-idling regulation prohibits vehicle-engine idling for more than five minutes, with certain exceptions. Peter Pan violated this Clean Air Act regulation at least 45 times last year, from February through April, in and around Boston and Springfield.

The EPA told Providence Business News that the companies had failed to obtain a storm-water discharge permit and to prepare and fully implement an oil-spill prevention plan for two bus maintenance garages, in Chelsea, Mass., and Providence, R.I. Failure to do so created a risk that fuel spills and oil leaks could contaminate storm-water runoff and nearby rivers.

Three of the bus maintenance garages had storm-water permit coverage through prior owners, but failed to conduct monthly inspections and site evaluations.

After the EPA contacted Peter Pan, the company corrected the clean-water violations at the five garages and strengthened its passenger-bus anti-idling program by using an innovative tracking system for monitoring bus idling in real time.

By the terms of the settlement, Peter Pan agreed to pay fines, and also agreed to equip 268 passenger buses, almost the entire inventory, with new crankcase filters by the end of December, and to provide documentation confirming that the work has been performed. These new filters will reduce oil leakage from each bus, substantially reducing a significant source of storm-water contamination from the bus parking lots.