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EPA settles two cases with Coleman Oil Company, LLC, stemming from 2017 Columbia River oil spill

Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (

Seattle, WA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled two federal Clean Water Act cases with Coleman Oil Company, LLC, located in Lewiston, Idaho, owner and operator of a former oil bulk terminal in Wenatchee, Washington, adjacent to the Columbia River.

The cases, resolved in the Fall of 2019, were connected to an underground oil spill at the company’s Wenatchee terminal in 2017. An estimated 3800 gallons of R99 Biodiesel was released to the subsurface and groundwater surrounding the plant – with some biodiesel entering the nearby Columbia River – from leaking underground piping used to carry fuel products from storage tanks to a truck loading rack.

After sheen was discovered in the Columbia River(March 2017), The Washington Department of Ecology led a partnership of state, federal and local agencies to respond to the spill and oversee Coleman Oil’s  comprehensive cleanup at the site. Coleman Oil continues to implement remedial actions under the oversight of the Ecology’s Toxic Cleanup Program. The discharge($159,000) and storage($130,200) violations totaled $289,200 in penalties.

In addition to the discharge of Biodiesel to the subsurface and the nearby Columbia River, a subsequent review of the Coleman Oil facility’s spill prevention plan revealed several violations of the federal Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule requirements.

The Company’s SPCC Plan infractions included:

  • Failure to include plan provisions regarding protective wrapping and coating of buried pipeline.
  • Failure to conduct pipeline integrity and leak testing  during installation, modification, construction, relocation, or replacement.
  • Failure to identify a system for preventing or rapidly detecting failures in buried connected piping and estimating quantity of oil that could be discharged.
  • Failure to identify prevention measures and discharge or drainage controls for the buried connecting pipes from aboveground storage tanks to the tanker truck loading rack.

Ultimately, Coleman Oil controlled the source and decommissioned the facility.

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