State fines fuel dealer for burning excess oil

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has fined Rowley Fuels of Milton more than $18,600 for illegally cutting open fuel oil storage tanks and lighting the fuel on fire. The state said the fuel dealer’s actions violated multiple hazardous waste management and air quality regulations.
In a news release Tuesday, the agency said that in March 2015 it received a complaint of black smoke coming from a facility owned by the company. Agency personnel and Milton police officers went to the scene and found two Rowley Fuels employees had slashed open two old heating oil storage tanks and were burning the excess fuel.
The company distributes heating fuel, propane and other petroleum products, and provides installation and service for related equipment including above-ground fuel storage tanks.
According to the news release, the employees told authorities they were working at the direction of their boss, Scott Allard, and that this was not the first time they had tried to get rid of excess fuel by burning it.
A message left for Allard on Wednesday drew no immediate response.
Burning heating oil remnants in such an uncontrolled manner sends dangerous toxic pollutants and particulates into the air at ground level, where they can be easily inhaled, the agency said.
Agency personnel reported spotting multiple other violations of hazardous waste rules, including improper and unsafe storage, handling and cleanup of hazardous heating fuel materials.
The agency put Rowley Fuels on notice of these violations, and the company later hired a consultant to conduct a site assessment, the state said. The assessment estimated that 80 gallons of fuel was burned from the perforated tanks, equivalent to the capacity of a large home water heater.
The consultant also removed the two above-ground fuel storage tanks and dug up about 45 cubic yards, or roughly 18 pickup truck loads, of contaminated soil from the property.
“Proper management of petroleum, tank-bottom sludge, and hazardous waste protects human health and the environment,” said Emily Boedecker, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “Vermont’s fuel dealers are responsible stewards of our environment while providing an essential service to Vermonters. When open burning of fuel and harmful release of petroleum do occur, Vermonters depend on the state to hold responsible parties accountable.”
Rowley Fuels has been ordered to stop burning waste fuel and is required to return the company to full compliance with Vermont hazardous waste rules. On Dec. 1 the Vermont Superior Court’s Environmental Division ordered a penalty of $18,637.50 for the violations.
The agency provides fact sheets, education and support to hazardous waste managers and home fuel tank owners. More information can be found at the DEC’s storage tank and hazardous waste management pages via the Waste Management and Prevention Division website.
Read the story on VTDigger here: State fines fuel dealer for burning excess oil.