State Dishes Fines for Oil Release


The state of Oregon issued $30,400 in fines to a quick lube and a plumber for intentionally discharging an oily mixture into a creek in late 2012. Both parties were found guilty of related misdemeanor criminal charges.

Automobilia Inc., a chain of quick lubes and car washes based in Tualatin, Ore., in collaboration with Scappoose, Ore.-based PlumbCrazy, a plumbing business run by Patrick Slevin, were convicted of pumping more than 6,560 gallons of a watery mixture – including used motor oil and other automotive lubricants – into a storm drain in Scappoose, Ore., on Oct. 17, 2012.

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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued penalties last week in the amount of $14,400 to Automobilia, which the company paid last month, and $16,000 to Slevin, according to the departments March 3 press release.

After a sump pump failed and flooded Automobilias Scappoose shop basement with approximately eight inches of oil and water, owner Richard Day hired Slevin to divert the facilitys release into a nearby parking lot storm drain with Slevins pumping equipment and the help of Automobilia employees. Some of the 6,560 gallons of oil runoff reached Jackson Creek, less than a mile from the drain, and left an oily sheen on the surface. Day did not respond to Lube Reports calls by deadline.

Spilling oil into state waters is a violation of Oregon environmental law, according to DEQ, noting in a Feb. 6 letter to Automobilia that the agency was particularly concerned because it believed the release was intentional.

Both parties faced criminal charges in Columbia County, Oregon. Day and Automobilia pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each for failing to report the oil release, and Slevin was convicted of one misdemeanor count of unlawful water pollution in the second degree. Slevin still has the opportunity to pay or appeal the penalty.

The agency said the penalties were lowered in consideration of the companies efforts to pay for subsequent cleanup work at the site.

Day did not return Lube Reports calls for comment by deadline.