PA Oil Firm Fined for Blast, Fatality

Friday, October 17, 2014 @ 04:10 PM gHale

Reed Oil Company is facing a fine of $62,470 for 21 violations of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, that includes a deadly explosion in Mercer County, PA, state officials said.

On Aug. 19, 2013 an above ground storage tank containing 7,500 gallons of off-road diesel fuel exploded at the company’s Pymatuning Township facility, killing a contractor not certified to work on storage tanks, said officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The explosion launched an oil tank into the air.

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As a result, DEP launched an investigation and uncovered several violations at this and another facility owned by Reed Oil Company in New Castle.

DEP’s investigation found Reed Oil Company used individuals not certified by DEP to perform work on above ground storage tanks as required by state law.

“The failure to use a certified individual as required by law resulted in a fatality,” DEP Northwest Regional Office Director John Guth said. “Assessing a penalty is key to ensuring this does not happen again.”

DEP also found the company lacked secondary containment for many of its storage tanks at its Mercer and Lawrence county facilities. At the Mercer County location, the company failed to have four tanks inspected as required by state law. The company has taken corrective action to remedy these issues.

Reed also failed to notify DEP when it changed the substance contained in one of its above ground storage tanks.

The Aug. 19 explosion caused a spill which contaminated nearby soil. A cleanup to remediate the soil is ongoing.

Reed Oil and its affiliated companies received other violations and fines from DEP over the past several years, all for violations of the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act.

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