Oil Compliance and Enforcement

Introduction

To protect Maine's surface water and ground water resources, Maine law prohibits the unlicensed discharge of oil to land and water and requires oil spills to be cleaned up promptly to the Department’s satisfaction. "Oil" includes but is not limited to gasoline, diesel, heating oils, hydraulic oils and lubricating oils.

Oil Compliance and Enforcement staff investigates incidents involving the mismanagement of oil. Staff help determine corrective actions at oil spill sites in conjunction with staff from other divisions of the Department as well as the Office of Attorney General, EPA, Coast Guard, and local law enforcement. Staff may also take enforcement actions if necessary.

Laws

To encourage the prompt reporting and clean up of oil spills, Maine law (38 M.R.S.A.   550) provides a "safe harbor" in that a person who causes an oil spill is not subject to any fines or civil penalties if they:

  • report the oil spill to the Department within two (2) hours; 
  • promptly and properly remove the spill to the Department’s satisfaction; and
  • reimburse the Department for its clean up costs (if any) within 30 days of billing.

 543. Pollution and corruption of waters and lands of the State prohibited

 548. Removal of prohibited discharges

 550. Enforcement; penalties

To report an oil spill in Maine, please call (24 hours) 1-800-482-0777.

Contacts

For questions about regulations and enforcement cases concerning oil spills and oil spill clean-ups, contact Butch Bowie, butch.c.bowie@maine.gov 207-215-4583