EPA issues legal complaint to the owner and operator of 17 underground storage tanks for violating federal regulation
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a legal complaint to the owner and operator of 17 underground storage tanks at six gasoline stations in western New York state for violating federal regulations. The complaint, which seeks $42,295 in penalties, was issued to United Refining Co. for violations at its Kwik Fill stations in Dunkirk, Westfield, Jamestown, Fredonia and Rochester, N.Y. In addition to paying penalties, the complaint requires the facilities to come into full compliance with the environmental regulations.
“When underground tanks are not properly maintained, groundwater can be contaminated, putting people’s health and the environment at risk," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Gas station owners have a legal obligation to maintain underground tanks so pollution does not damage the community.”
Groundwater is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. When petroleum or other hazardous substances leak from underground tanks, the leaks are difficult and expensive to clean up, particularly if they involve a public source of drinking water.
The complaint alleges the company failed to:
- Upgrade piping at one service station;
- Keep adequate records of corrosion protection at one service station;
- Ensure equipment was running properly at one service station; and
- Keep adequate records of release detection monitoring at three service stations.
The law authorizes EPA to seek between $11,000 and $16,000 per tank for each day a violation exists.
In a separate action, EPA reached an agreement with NOCO Energy Corp. to settle violations involving 39 underground storage tanks at 13 stations in the Buffalo, N.Y., area and in Rochester, N.Y. Under the terms of the agreement, NOCO will pay EPA $14,000 and has agreed to operate its underground tanks in full compliance with the law.