September 12, 2018
Newport, Vt. – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that James and Richard Eastman of Newport, doing business as Richard Eastman Trucking, were fined $3,500 for dispensing diesel fuel into the empty bed of a tractor trailer, which resulted in the discharge of approximately 10 gallons of diesel fuel onto the pavement and soils surrounding the fuel pump.
In December 2016, James Eastman stopped at the Maplefields Irving gas station in St. Johnsbury to fuel a tractor trailer owned by Richard Eastman Trucking. The trailer was empty, intended to haul woodchips and mulch. Security cameras on site show that instead of filling the fuel tank with diesel fuel, Eastman dispensed the fuel into the empty bed of the tractor trailer. An estimated 10 gallons of fuel spilled onto the ground near the pump. Maplefields staff called the St. Johnsbury Fire Department to respond to the spill. Within 24 hours, contractors were on site and cleaning up the spill, ultimately removing about 11 tons of contaminated soil from the site.
“We require gas stations and other fuel tank operators to have protocols in place to prevent and respond to spills,” says Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “But users have responsibilities, too. Ultimately, we hold the responsible party accountable when hazardous materials are handled incorrectly.”
James and Richard Eastman agreed to settle this matter with DEC with a $3,500 fine for the violations. This agreement was approved by the Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division on September 5, 2018.
Diesel fuel is a hazardous material and it can have severe impacts if released to the environment, including contaminating soils, groundwater and drinking water, and endangering public health. The DEC Spills Program assesses the environmental impact of hazardous material spills and oversees cleanup. Spills of hazardous material in excess of two gallons must be reported immediately under state law. A member of DEC’s Spills Team is on call 24-hours per day, year-round. For more information about DEC’s Hazardous Waste program, including information about reporting a spill, visit the DEC’s Waste Management & Prevention website at: http://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management.