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October 03. 2013 10:22AM

New Castle marina fined $50,000 for fuel safety violations

CONCORD — A New Castle company was fined $50,000 for illegally altering an underground storage tank system to allow for "fast fueling" of boats at Wentworth by the Sea Marina, authorities announced Thursday.

The settlement with Pier People LLC and Spenser Epperson allows for $15,000 of the fine to be permanently suspended provided the marina has no further violations.

According to Attorney General Joseph A. Foster and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) Commissioner Thomas S. Burack, Pier People altered the pipes leading from the underground storage tank to boats docking at the marina so the boats could be fueled more quickly.

However, state authorities say, the alterations effectively bypassed some of the required safety systems, thus increasing the risk of uncontrolled releases of petroleum into the state's waters.

Pier People admits it committed violations but disputes the state's facts, claiming violations resulted from miscommunication. DES previously emailed the defendants informing them the underground storage tank alterations were in "direct violation of New Hampshire regulations," authorities said in a news release.

No fuel was spilled at the marina as a result of the alterations, and authorities say only one boat may have been fueled using the altered system.

Nonetheless, Foster said in a prepared statement, "We cannot put human health and the environment at risk. We are fortunate that nothing was spilled this time and we are going to make sure that this type of behavior does not occur in the future at this or any other facility in New Hampshire."


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