Martha’s Vineyard fuel spill costs Falmouth company $28,000

Loud Fuel Company, and manager Kabraul Tasha, have been ordered by Judge C.J. Moriarty to pay a $25,000 fine to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. — Photo courtesy of Loud Fuel Co. website

A Dukes County Superior Court judge ordered a Falmouth fuel company and its manager to pay $28,000 in fines, because the manager spilled 50 gallons of gasoline in Oak Bluffs, and didn’t tell anybody about it.

Loud Fuel Company, and manager Kabraul Tasha, pleaded guilty to failure to report a fuel spill, and environmental endangerment Monday, April 23.

Judge C.J. Moriarty ordered the company to pay a $25,000 fine to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. He fined Mr. Tasha $3,000.

On June 19, 2009, Mr. Tasha delivered gasoline to the pumps at Jim’s Package Store. He attached the fuel hose to a tank that was already full by mistake, started pumping fuel, then left the area. Surveillance video showed fuel spraying out of the filler pipe for about six minutes.

The spill was not discovered until four days later, when employees reporting for work at Nancy’s restaurant noticed a strong gasoline smell inside the building.

“These defendants failed to immediately report a release of gasoline, causing damage to nearby businesses and also putting customers and employees at risk of a dangerous explosion,” Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley said in a news release. “It is important to hold those accountable who do not comply with the environmental laws regarding oil spills so that the community and the public are not put at risk.”

In addition to the fines, Judge Moriarty put the company on probation for three years. During that time the company must train employees annually in spill prevention and reporting, pay for annual environmental audits, and reimburse Nancy’s Restaurant for the property damage caused by the spill.

The judge continued the case against Mr. Tasha without a finding for two years, and ordered him to get training on spill prevention and reporting.

Mr. Tasha did not return phone calls requesting comment.