Owner of Stowe Ski Resort Settles Claims Related to Oil Spill Incidents in 2003

By AlpineZone News |
Aug 10 2005 - 09:36 AM

STOWE, Vermont ??” The company that owns and operates Stowe Mountain Ski Resort, the Mount Mansfield Company, Inc. of Stowe, Vt., will pay a fine of $50,000, settling EPA claims that it violated oil spill prevention requirements under the federal Clean Water Act. The case is related to a diesel fuel spill at the resort in 2003.

The company settled claims resulting from the ski resort’s March 2003 release of approximately 3,350 gallons of diesel fuel from a 6,000 gallon above-ground oil storage tank. Resulting from the incident, approximately 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the West Branch of the Little River.

EPA’s investigation found that the company did not have a required “Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan” (SPCC) until 2001, and that the SPCC plan that was in place at the time of the March 2003 oil spill was inadequate in that it failed to address the facility’s insufficient secondary containment for the 6,000 gallon tank. If the tank had properly installed secondary containment it would have contained the released fuel and prevented the discharge from reaching the river. The company also did not properly amend its SPCC plan after the incident.

As a result of the spill, the drinking water supply for the Notch Brook Condominium complex, located 2-3 miles downstream on the West Branch, was adversely affected in addition to the aquatic ecosystem of the river. EPA deemed the spill “significant” due to the quantity of oil spilled and its environmental impact on the River and a drinking water source.

“This case highlights the importance of proper oil spill prevention plans and procedures, said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office. “If proper prevention techniques had been followed, such as secondary containment, this spill would not have reached the river, impacting a valuable ecological and drinking water resource.”

The EPA settlement follows an agreement last April with Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell’s office, in which Mt. Mansfield agreed to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and to fund a $25,000 resource restoration project to enhance the streambed leading to the river effected by the spill. The State of Vermont was the lead for overseeing the spill cleanup and for addressing risks to human health and the environment. EPA’s settlement addresses additional federal violations of the Clean Water Act not covered under the State’s jurisdiction.