The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with the carbon material and chemical company Koppers Inc. The settlement is aimed at preventing oil spills into the Ohio River from the company’s Follansbee facility in Brooke County. The river provides drinking water to 5 million people and is widely used for recreation.
In October of 2015, the EPA inspected the plant’s 92 above-ground storage tanks, which can store more than 18 million gallons of oil, and surrounding facilities. The inspectors found that Koppers had not properly inspected the tanks to make sure they could still be safely used. Also, secondary containment barriers outside of the tanks were found to be both structurally unsound and too small to contain the oil in the event of a spill.
The EPA says Koppers has been cooperative with its order to improve the secondary containment barriers and test all above-ground oil storage tanks. The company should complete all improvements by the end of March.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.