This July 2018 photo shows absorbents placed to contain oil in the stormwater pond outside Achilles USA. (Washington State Department of Ecology, file)

This July 2018 photo shows absorbents placed to contain oil in the stormwater pond outside Achilles USA. (Washington State Department of Ecology, file)

Everett manufacturer settles oil spill fines for $222,000

Six geese, a snake and blue herons were covered in oil at a retention pond outside Achilles USA.

EVERETT — An Everett manufacturer is paying $222,200 to settle fines for two oil spills that polluted a stormwater pond and tainted local wildlife near Narbeck Creek.

In July 2018, an Achilles USA employee dropped a moving tote with lubricating oil at the company’s south Everett facility, causing the container to rupture and spill into the building’s stormwater system. From there, the oil was flushed into a retention pond outside, where animals are known to hang out.

While cleaning up that spill, responders found that an overflowing collection pit inside the facility was also draining into the retention pond.

In all, 340 gallons of oil were dumped into the pond. It took three weeks to clean.

Responders caught and cleaned six geese and a snake that were covered in oil. They also saw blue herons that were covered in oil, but couldn’t catch them.

The state Department of Ecology initially cited Achilles USA, a plastic film manufacturer, last year for a $327,200 liability, negligence and failing to notify authorities of the incident.

The settlement, approved by the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board, resolves the penalty. The money will go toward environmental restoration managed by public agencies and nonprofits.

Achilles also has paid nearly $12,000 to cover the state’s expenses in responding to the spill, and nearly $4,000 for a separate natural resources damage assessment.

In a statement, the company called environmental responsibility a priority, noting that it has invested more than $200,000 in spill prevention equipment and employee training. The company stated that it also upgraded its environmental policies and spill prevention plans.

“We are confident that these improvements will help prevent any contaminants from reaching our containment pond in the future,” the company stated.

Dale Jensen, an Ecology program manager, echoed the company’s sentiment.

“We are glad the company has taken its responsibilities seriously and hope there will be no further incidents,” he said in a statement.

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