News and Press Releases

United States Settles Civil Environmental Case Against Bay Terrace Cooperative Section X, Inc. Involving Oil Spill into Little Neck Bay

January 03 , 2005

Bay Terrace Agrees to Pay U. S. $600,000 for Cleanup Costs

ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the filing of a Stipulation of Settlement against Bay Terrace Cooperative Section X, Inc., of Bayside, New York ("Bay Terrace"), for violations of the Oil Pollution Act, 33 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq., and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1321 et seq. Pursuant to the Stipulation, which is subject to court approval, Bay Terrace has agreed to reimburse the United States $600,000 for cleanup costs for discharging a large quantity of heating oil into Little Neck Bay.

According to the government's complaint, filed late last week in U. S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, on March 27, 2001, approximately 600 gallons of # 6 home heating oil were discharged into Little Neck Bay when the oil line of an apartment building located at 18-70 211th Street, Queens, New York, burst and filled the boiler room's sump pump, which then pumped the oil into a storm sewer line that leads directly to the Bay. That same day, a thick substance was reported to be creating a black-colored sheen in Little Neck Bay. A shoreline survey conducted on March 28, 2001, by the Coast Guard revealed that approximately one mile of shoreline was impacted by oil. The cleanup continued for nearly 40 days and cost approximately $650,000. Source sampling and laboratory tests revealed a match between home heating oil samples from the apartment building at 18-70 211th Street, which is owned by Bay Terrace, and the discharged oil found in the Bay.

Under the Oil Pollution Act, Bay Terrace is liable to the United States for the cost of the cleanup, including claims paid from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to individuals whose property was damaged by the discharge, plus interest. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a trust fund within the United States Treasury, funds cleanup efforts and other expenses related to oil pollution.

The Stipulation of Settlement with the United States requires Bay Terrace to pay $600,000 to the United States for reimbursement of costs incurred by the Coast Guard and/or the Oil Spill Trust Liability Fund in responding to Bay Terrace's March 27, 2001, discharge of oil into the Bay.

"Maintaining the integrity of our waters is an essential goal of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund," stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. "By recovering the funds expended by the Trust Fund, we ensure that resources will continue to be available to keep the waters of our communities free of oil pollution." Ms. MAUSKOPF expressed her appreciation to Rachel Hopp, Esq., of the National Pollution Funds Center, United States Coast Guard, and Captain Brian Judge of the United States Coast Guard, Office of Claims and Litigation, for their assistance in this case.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Horan.

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