Two companies involved in a 2012 oil spill while dismantling an unpermitted barge on the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma have settled their penalties with the Washington Department of Ecology.

Tacoma Industrial Properties (TIP) and RV Associates were penalized a combined $24,800 in June 2013 following the spill of around 25 gallons of oil on June 21, 2012. The spill occurred when the two companies were dismantling a derelict vessel known as the Hauff Barge without proper permits, causing a visible oil sheen that covered about 23 acres of the waterway, or an area equal to about 17 football fields.

The settlement reached by TIP, RV Associates and Ecology reduces the original penalty from $24,800 to $17,000 in exchange for the parties agreeing to no further appeals or litigation stemming from the incident. The settlement required a $5,000 cash payment, while the remaining $12,000 will be satisfied by a plan that creates a salt marsh along the shore of the Hylebos Waterway.

TIP and RV Associates will work with Soundview Consultants, an environmental consulting firm, to create new salt marsh near the site of the spill. The marshland will provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and increase the biological health of the waterway. The project is scheduled to begin in summer 2015.

“We’re pleased to reach an agreement with the responsible parties in this innovative way,” said Rich Doenges, Water Quality section manager for Ecology’s Southwest Region.

“This agreement is an effective alternative to litigation.  Directing penalty dollars to create salt marsh habitat will be a lasting improvement to the ecological health of the Hylebos.”

Source: U.S. Department of Ecology

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