Central Valley Regional Control Board Fines Washoe Fuel for Not Cleaning Petroleum Products Leaks

By on March 9, 2019

After more than a decade since the discovery of petroleum product leakage was discovered at a former bulk fueling business, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) has fined Washoe Fuel Inc. (aka Allied Washoe) $660,521. The company’s failure to clean up the leakage has caused chronic harm to the water supply in the town of Quincy in Plumas County.

Documents from CVRWQCB show progressive attempts to work with Washoe Fuel to resolve and allow for remediation of the leakage issues. The Water Board’s Administrative Civil Liability Order No. R5-2019-0007 shows that in 2007 the Central Valley Water Board issued a cleanup and abatement order to Allied Washoe. The company submitted a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) on July 18, 2008, 291 days past the due date of Oct. 1, 2007. The CVRWQCB countered in an August 27, 2008 letter indicating that the CAP was insufficient. The Board requested an amended CAP that addressed its concerns with a due date of Oct. 15, 2008. A formally submitted amended CAP has not been realized since Aug. 27, 2008.

Although Washoe Allied semiannually submitted samples between second quarter 2008 and third quarter 2014, they have not conducted groundwater sampling at the leakage site since 2014. Additionally, Washoe Allied has not submitted the required quarterly monitoring reports, and has not submitted semiannual monitoring reports since 2014.

In January 2014, CVRWQCB staff conducted an onsite visit at the former bulk fueling business and found free product at the site and other items of concern. Email communication between the water board and the company concluded that the company would submit an amended CAP by March 31, 2014; this CAP was never formally received.

A draft CAP/soil remediation work plan was emailed to the CVRWQCB in 2015, but never formally submitted. In May 2017, an engineer from McGinley Associates, Inc, an environmental consulting firm, forwarded an unsigned draft of an amended CAP and requested comments prior to final submittal. During an August 2017 phone meeting between CVRWQCB staff, Washoe Allied and McGinley’s engineer, Washoe Allied agreed to submit the amended CAP by Sept. 1, 2017, but failed to do so.

“The failure of Washoe Fuel to comply with the Cleanup and Abatement Order has resulted in a hardship to the town of Quincy by removing one of its supply wells from service,” said Clint Snyder, assistant executive officer for the Central Valley Water Board.

Washoe Fuel’s negligence and failure to comply with the CVRWQCB’s directives has resulted in the contamination of well water and means a water supply well for the city of Quincy remains out of commission. In addition to the fine, Washoe Fuel is still required to clean and remediate the property until it is in compliance.