The Washington Department of Ecology and Achilles USA, Inc., have reached a settlement over a penalty for two spills at Achilles’ Everett facility in 2018. Under the settlement, the company will pay $222,200 for the two spills which flowed into a retention pond and impacted wildlife.
In July 2018, an Achilles employee was improperly moving totes containing lubricating oil when one fell and ruptured, spilling the contents into the building’s stormwater system. The oil was flushed to an outside retention pond frequented by wildlife. During cleanup, responders found a second source of lubricating oil draining into the pond. The oil came from a collection pit inside the facility that had overfilled due to lack of maintenance.
A total of 340 gallons of lubricating oil spilled to the retention pond and took three weeks to clean up. Six oiled geese and one snake were captured and cleaned. Additional oiled wildlife were observed, including blue herons, but could not be captured for cleaning.
Last year, Ecology penalized the company $327,200 for the spills, not reporting them, and negligence. The settlement resolves that penalty.
In addition to the penalty, Ecology billed Achilles $11,925 to recover the state’s costs in responding to the spills. The company is also subject to a separate Natural Resources Damage Assessment of $3,855 based on a scientific evaluation of the spills’ environmental harm. Achilles has both reimbursed the state’s costs and paid its Natural Resources Damage Assessment.
“We are glad the company has taken its responsibilities seriously and hope there will be no further incidents,” said Dale Jensen, Ecology Spills Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program Manager.
On the settlement, Achilles stated, “Environmental Responsibility is an important priority for all employees of Achilles USA. Since July of 2018, we have invested over $200,000 into Spill Prevention equipment and employee training. We have also upgraded our Environmental Policies and Spill Prevention plans. We are confident that these improvements will help prevent any contaminants from reaching our containment pond in the future.”
The settlement was submitted to and accepted by the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board. Proceeds from penalties and damage assessments support grants issued by Ecology to public agencies and non-profit organizations for environmental restoration projects.