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Butler oil company to pay big fines for violations

Benz Oil of Butler violations of state hazardous waste laws date back to 1991

Nov. 27, 2012

Benz Oil Inc. in Butler will be paying $140,000 in fines after the attorney general J.B. Van Hollen found the company in violation of Wisconsin hazardous waste laws.

The order came on Nov. 15 but some of the state's 11 claims against the company go as far back as 1991.

Benz Oil has since revised its facility activities and has now been found to be in compliance with Wisconsin's Hazardous Waste Management and Remedial Action Laws.

Half of the complaints came from poor record keeping. They failed to report to the DNR with spill prevention control and countermeasures (federal SPCC guidelines), failed to develop sampling methods and follow a written analysis plan for measuring total halogen content and failed to keep required records detailing used oil generator or transporter information.

According to the judgment, the oil recycling facility also failed to keep an evacuation plan for their employees, with primary and alternative routes, or maintain a list of emergency equipment on hand until April 2011.

They only began working with emergency responders and local authorities for emergency planning in Feb. 2011.

Benz Oil was also found using gravel on top of clay in the base of the oil tank farm instead of concrete.

State law requires that all walls and floors in oil containment systems be impervious to best prevent used oil, toxic chemicals and heavy metals from being released into the soil or groundwater.

During site investigations the DNR staff observed oil tanks in poor condition, oil staining around the pump house, puddle liquid beneath tanks and a consultant positively identified contaminated areas in 1997.

Used oil can contain cancer-causing agents, metal contaminants and organic compounds that filter into the groundwater supply which could pose serious health risks to the nearby community.

While Benz Oil has now been found to be in compliance with state and federal standards, they still have to pay a hefty fine.

They have been ordered to pay $100,218.98 in forfeitures and $26,056.93 or 26 percent in penalty surcharges.

The remainder of the $140,000 will be paid for environmental surcharges, court costs, crime laboratories, court support services surcharges, jail surcharges, justice information system surcharges and attorney fees.

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