Bourne’s Inc., doing business as Bourne’s Energy of Morrisville, has been fined $4,500 for two separate incidents involving delivery of heating fuel to residences in Waterbury and Johnson.
Many Vermonters use above-ground storage tanks at their residences to store heating fuel. In 2017, Vermont adopted new rules for those tanks to help prevent fuel leaks. The rules set standards for new installations and require periodic inspections of existing systems.
Tanks that have missing or non-working safety features, are unstable, or are in generally poor condition are affixed with red tags, signaling that the tanks have to be fixed before any more oil is pumped into them.
In February of this year, Bourne’s Energy delivered 100 gallons of fuel to a Waterbury residence with a red tag affixed to the tank’s fill pipe, according to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation. The tank was in generally poor condition and out of commission because of corrosion, pitting and rust. Although no fuel oil was spilled, filling non-compliant tanks is illegal because it is dangerous for delivery drivers and tank owners because of the risk of overfilling the tank, leaks, or accidental spills, state officials say.
In December 2017, Bourne’s pumped 160 gallons of fuel oil into an unfinished basement in Johnson because it delivered oil to the wrong address. In trying to deliver fuel to an apartment building in Johnson, it went to a neighboring building, where the oil-filler pipe on the outside of the building was not connected to a fuel tank
The oil poured into the building’s basement. When the problem was discovered, Bourne’s worked quickly with an environmental contractor to remove more than 9 tons of contaminated soil from the building’s basement.
“Every year in Vermont, there are between 70 and 100 preventable heating fuel leaks from above-ground storage tanks,” said Emily Boedecker, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “Heating fuel is a hazardous material that, when released to the environment, can contaminate drinking water or bodies of water, release odors that affect residents, and impact home values. Confirming that tanks are safe, in good condition, and properly connected is an important step in preventing releases during home deliveries.”
Bourne’s Inc. agreed to a $4,500 penalty for the two violations in an agreement this month with the state Environmental Court.
Information: dec.vermont.gov; click “Waste.”