LA GRANDE — A Pendleton business faces a state fine of $7,200 for an environmental violations in La Grande.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently reported issuing civil penalties in October against six businesses, including Sheldon Petroleum Services, 811 S.E. Byers Ave., Pendleton, for failing to submit a work plan for failing to take corrective actions after it decommissioned a heating oil tank in La Grande.

Sheldon Petroleum Services in May 2019 decommissioned an underground storage tank at 1602 Walnut St., La Grande. Tests of groundwater at the site revealed oil was leaking from the tank.

Sheldon Petroleum was also fined $16,800 in August for similar violations in Hood River and The Dalles.

The company in July of that year reported it removed the tank and contaminated soil, but according to the DEQ’s "Notice of Civil Penalty Assessment and Order" of Oct. 27, 2020, those reports did not include receipts for the removal and disposal of the tank, piping or the soil.

The environment department rejected the reports and in August 2019 asked Sheldon Petroleum to submit a plan for additional work at the property. The company, however, told the state it was done working at the site.

The DEQ in December 2019, according tot he enforcement notice, again informed Sheldon Petroleum it had rejected the July reports and asked for a work plan "to delineate the full extent and magnitude of soil and groundwater contamination at the property." The company submitted a plan on Dec. 20, but the plan did not provide full details of the work to deal with the contamination.

The DEQ in the notice detailed how it calculated the $7,200 fine, which included the magnitude of the violation and the finding that Sheldon Petroleum Services "failed to take reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of conduct constituting a violation."

Lauren Wirtis, spokesperson for DEQ, explained Sheldon Petroleum has not appealed or paid the fine. The company had 20 calendar days from Oct. 29, when it received the notice, to request a hearing, which would be the first step in the appeals process. Wirtis said,"Those 20 days have lapsed."

The six penalties in October totaled $127,12, and ranged from $412 for a Clean Fuels Program violation in Salem to a $93,409 against DepCom Power Inc. of Salem for polluting wetlands and other waterways in Estacada.

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