Wilmington oil recycler fined $3.5 million
International Petroleum Corporation of Delaware (IPC) was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Wilmington to a $1.3 million, fine and $2.2 million in restitution for offenses that included conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act.
Per court documents and statements made in court, from 1992 through 2012, IPC operated a facility, located at 505 South Market Street in Wilmington which processed used oil and hydrocarbon-containing waste water and then sold the reprocessed petroleum.
The facility had two components: oil recovery and waste water treatment. The site’s petroleum processing activities generated waste water, which the company treated before being discharged into a city sewer along Market Street.
The city issued IPC a federally-enforceable Clean Water Act pretreatment permit which governed the types and concentrations of pollutants which IPC could discharge into the city’s sewer system.
The pretreatment permit required IPC to take “representative” samples of its waste water monthly, to determine if it was complying with its permit limitations, and report its sampling results the city every six months.
IPC admitted that its monthly samples were not representative, as it tampered with, and rendered inaccurate, monitoring methods and a monitoring device required by the Clean Water Act and IPC’s federally-enforceable pretreatment permit.
Per testimony and documents, IPC further admitted to violating the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (“RCRA”) by transporting hazardous waste without a hazardous waste manifest.
In June and July 2012, IPC trucked to South Carolina for disposal sludge removed from its storage tanks.
The tank bottoms contained concentrations of benzene, barium, chromium, cadmium, lead, tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene, which are classified as hazardous waste.
“Industrial wastewater can pose serious threats to public health and the environment, so it’s imperative that companies honestly treat and dispose of it properly and sample and report pollutant concentrations honestly,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly III. “Likewise, companies must handle hazardous waste properly to ensure its proper treatment and disposal. The Department of Justice and EPA are committed to protecting human health and the environment for all Americans through strong enforcement of environmental laws, especially in environmental justice areas. This conviction and sentence ensures that the defendant is held accountable with a criminal fine, and pays substantial restitution to the City of Wilmington.”
The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. The City of Wilmington Department of Public Works and the DNREC Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Section assisted in the investigation. IPC, through its parent company which purchased the Wilmington plant after the crimes to which IPC pled guilty occurred, cooperated with the investigation.