MARCH 2009

Oregon company penalized

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued an $11,200 penalty to Hamilton Metals, Inc., for failing to clean up oil and fuel spills at its metal recycling business.

On August 13, 2008, DEQ staff inspected the facility and observed large areas of soil saturated with heavy oils and diesel fuel released during scrap metal recycling operations. Additionally, four 55-gallon drums and a large tank used to store used oil did not have a “used oil” label as required by state environmental law. Releases of used oil were visible on the ground around the drums.

Soil samples taken at the property revealed high levels of petroleum contamination. Petroleum products pose a significant risk to human health, particularly in areas of shallow groundwater like that on the property. Used oil and fuels can contain cancer-causing agents, metal contaminants and organic compounds that may filter into the groundwater supply. For this reason, spilled oil must be immediately contained and cleaned up.

The company is taking steps to correct the violations and start cleanup at the site. DEQ considered these efforts in determining the amount of the penalty.