EPA takes action against SF Muni

Posted on November 3, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) for violating both the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

This enforcement action stems from red dye diesel fuel - at least 39,000 gallons by EPA estimates -- being released from the Woods bus servicing facility.

The proposed consent decree, subject to a 30-day public comment period, will require the city and county of San Francisco to pay a $250,000 civil penalty. It will also require Muni to implement an Incident Command System training program that will improve coordination and communication during future incidents of this nature.

The spill originated at the Woods motor coach refueling facility when a faulty hose ruptured and underground storage tanks overflowed. The released diesel fuel landed in a storm drain where heavy flows from a major December rain storm caused the storm drain to overflow to the storm water line. The fuel then caused an interference with a San Francisco southeast wastewater treatment pump station. From there, some of the fuel spilled into Islais Creek, which drains into Central San Francisco Bay.

The discharge of oil into Islais Creek and interference with the pump station were violations of the Clean Water Act. An EPA investigation also revealed that the release of diesel fuel was due to the failure of Muni staff to comply with federal regulations issued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that governs the management of underground storage tanks.

Following the December 2005 spill at the Woods facility, the EPA investigated compliance at additional Muni bus servicing facilities and found varying levels of noncompliance with spill prevention requirements at three facilities.

The city and county of San Francisco conducted remedial actions to clean up the spill in 2006 and has also taken initiative to evaluate its procedures and upgrade its facilities to prevent further spills. In addition to the work required by the consent decree, Muni has taken steps to decrease the likelihood of any future releases, including completing all spill prevention, control and countermeasure requirements and including installation of adequate containment and the preparation of spill prevention plans; replacing the piping in underground sumps; replacing the containment boxes under all diesel and gasoline dispensers; and establishing new procedures to monitor fuel inventory and provide MTA staff supervision for fuel deliveries.



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