City of Tacoma has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal rules on used oil contaminated with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. The city will pay a $40,000 federal penalty.

“Today’s settlement should serve as a reminder that handling used oil requires attention to the requirements designed to prevent the distribution of PCBs,” said Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s enforcement program in Seattle.

According to EPA, the City shipped 750 gallons of used oil contaminated with PCBs from its landfill to Emerald Services, an oil recycling and reuse company. Tacoma officials did not know that the used oil was contaminated with PCBs before they shipped it. Emerald Services found the problem during its routine oil testing and was able to trace the PCB-contaminated oil to the Tacoma shipment.

Federal pollution watchdogs discovered the violations when Emerald Services provided a waste report to EPA, as required by federal regulations, describing the PCB waste.

The City’s oil shipment resulted in the PCB contamination of approximately 8,250 gallons of used oil at Emerald Services. Under federal rules, the company then could not recycle the PCB-contaminated oil, and instead was required to dispose of the used oil as hazardous waste.