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“Dominion Virginia Power to pay DC $75K in fines for January 2016 oil spill”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user wolfpackWX

From the Department of Energy and Environment:

“Dominion Virginia Power has agreed to pay $75,000 to the District of Columbia stemming from a spill of more than 13,000 gallons of mineral oil from its Crystal City sub-station into the Potomac River on January 24, 2016. In the Administrative Consent Order issued by Tommy Wells, the Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), Dominion was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $25,000 and to pay $50,000 to DOEE to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project for the Department to conduct a stream survey and create a registry of all streams within the District. The Order was issued under the District of Columbia’s Water Pollution Control Act. While the Dominion facility is located in Virginia, the Potomac River is a waterway of the District of Columbia and subject to the requirements of the District’s Water Pollution Control Act.

On February 3, 2016, an oily sheen was reported in the Potomac River; it extended from the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary and Gravelly Point to the Ronald Reagan National Airport and Jones Point. Tracing the sheen, DOEE response personnel and investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality identified the source of the sheen as originating from an outfall in the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary.

The U.S. Coast Guard and other federal and state agencies, including DOEE, established a Unified Command to respond to the spill. After analytical testing of oil sheen determined it was transformer mineral oil, Dominion, which had reported a discharge of mineral oil from its facility on January 24th, accepted responsibility for the spill.

The civil penalty and funding of the supplemental environmental project are in addition to the recovery of the costs of the District’s response to, and investigation of, the discharge that were paid from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which will be reimbursed by Dominion. Additionally, claims for natural resources damages, which are still being assessed by the federal and state natural resources trustees, including DOEE, remain outstanding.

Personnel from DOEE’s Emergency Operations Office and the Water Quality Division’s Inspection and Enforcement Branch participated in the response to and the investigation of the oil spill.”

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