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Public Notice: Baker Commodities Inc.: Proposed Settlement of Clean Water Act Class II Administrative Penalty

Publish Date: 12/03/2020


In accordance with Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Sections 311(b)(6)(A) and (B)(ii), 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(6)(A), and (B)(ii), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and the Consolidated Rules of Practice at 40 C.F.R. Part 22, notice is hereby given of a proposed settlement, recorded in a Consent Agreement and Proposed Final Order (“Proposed Consent Agreement”), between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 (“EPA”), and Baker Commodities, Inc. (“Respondent”) to resolve this CWA Class II civil administrative penalty proceeding.

Under CWA Section 311(b)(6), 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(6), any owner, operator, or person in charge of any vessel, onshore facility, or offshore facility who fails or refuses to comply with any regulation issued under CWA Section 311(j), 33 U.S.C. § 1321(j), to which that owner, operator, or person in charge is subject, may be assessed a civil penalty. CWA Section 311(b)(6)(C), 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(6)(C), requires EPA to provide public notice of and a reasonable opportunity to comment on its proposed penalties. The specific procedures for conducting CWA Section 311(b)(6)(A), 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(6)(A), penalty proceedings are further set forth in the Consolidated Rules of Practice at 40 C.F.R. Part 22.

On December 2, 2020, pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 22.13(b) and 22.18(b)(2) and (3), Complainant and Respondent entered into a Proposed Consent Agreement to simultaneously commence and conclude this CWA Class II civil administrative penalty proceeding. The Proposed Consent Agreement requires Respondent to pay to the United States a civil administrative penalty of one-hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000).

In the Matter of Baker Commodities Inc., EPA Docket Number CWA-09-2021-0007

Complainant: Amy Miller-Bowen, Director, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, U.S. EPA, Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105.

Respondent: Baker Commodities, Inc., 4020 Bandini Boulevard, Vernon, California 90058.

Description of Business or Activity Conducted by the Respondent: Respondent conducts animal rendering and grease removal services at its facility at 4020 Bandini Boulevard in Vernon, California ("the Facility"). The Facility is subject to certain requirements, including the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 112.

Summary of Alleged Violations: The Respondent failed to comply with applicable Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure ("SPCC") requirements of the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to: (1) have the full approval of management at a level of authority to commit the necessary resources to fully implement the SPCC Plan; (2) provide sufficient secondary containment at the rail-car loading/unloading rack; (3) abide by the applicable industry standards for integrity testing of bulk storage containers and the qualifications for personnel performing tests and inspections, and carry out tank integrity testing; (4) include the portable totes located in the northwest area of the Facility in the facility diagram of the SPCC Plan; (5) address in the SPCC Plan whether there are at least two “lift” pumps available for the facility drainage system and whether or not at least one pump is permanently installed, and the facility drainage systems are engineered to prevent a discharge in the case of equipment failure or human error; (6) clean up and remove spilled oil and grease throughout the Facility; (7) amend and recertify the SPCC Plan to identify which tanks and vessels have been taken out-of-service, and permanently closed; and (8) ensure piping terminal connections at transfer points are marked as to origin and capped or blank-flanged when not in service or in standby service for an extended time. Respondent also failed to prepare a Facility Response Plan.

Proposed Penalty:  $175,000

Applicant or Respondent

Baker Commodities Inc.
4020 Bandini Boulevard
Vernon, CA