This month, two Scappoose companies have been fined more than $30,000 by the Department of Environmental Quality in connection with a 2012 incident wherein more than 6,500 gallons of an oil and water mixture was pumped from an oil change and car wash facility into a storm drain that drained into Jackson Creek and the Columbia Slough.
Patrick Edmund Slevins, owner of PlumbCrazy, was fined $16,000. Automobilia, Inc., owner and operator of the car wash and express lube facility, was fined $14,400.
On Oct. 17, 2012, Slevin was hired to pump out the basement of the business after a sump pump failed.
According to the DEQ announcement, Slevin and the facility’s employees were instructed to pump the mixture into a nearby storm drain in a parking lot. Under orders, Slevin and the company’s employees drained 6,500 gallons of the oil and water mixture, which was eight inches deep, from the basement into the storm drain. That drain emptied into Jackson Creek, less than a mile away. The mixture also created a sheen on Columbia Slough. Slevin provided the equipment to undertake the task, a larger pump and a hose.
Concerns that Automobilia, Inc., and Slevin intentionally caused the discharge led to the penalties. Richard Brett Day, owner of Automobilia was informed of the penalty by certified letter on Feb. 6; Slevin was notified in the same manner on the same day.
Automobilia’s efforts to pay for cleanup work at the site are one reason for the company’s lower penalty. Automobilia and Day pled guilty to failure to report a spill or release of oil. On Jan. 23, Slevin was convicted on one charge of Unlawful water Pollution 2. All of these charges are misdemeanors.
On Feb. 27, Automobilia paid the $14,400 fee in full. Slevin can pay the entire fine of $16,000 or appeal the penalty.