C-Store Owner Sued for UST Violations

Several problems alleged

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- Earlier this month, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon filed a lawsuit against the owner of a Marshfield convenience store for his repeated refusal to comply with state law.

A petition filed in Webster County Circuit Court alleges that Dale Hyde, owner of Supreme Oil and operator of C&N Convenience Store, has committed multiple violations of Missouri's Underground Petroleum Storage Tank Law. He faces the possibility of fines and a potential court order preventing him from refilling his gasoline storage tanks.

In May 2003, C&N was issued its first violation for failure to comply with a state regulation requiring insurance or other proof of financial responsibility. Subsequently, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has noted several other violations, including failure to comply with reporting and record-keeping requirements, install a system capable of detecting leaks from underground tanks or pipes, conduct an annual test for leaks, monitor tanks every 30 days for possible leak detection, notify the DNR when a leak occurred and investigate and confirm a petroleum release into the environment.

Nixon is asking the court to impose a fine of up to $10,000 a day for each violation, order Hyde to bring the store into full compliance with Missouri law and prevent the store from selling or accepting deliveries of petroleum products until the facility is in full compliance. The lawsuit also asks that Hyde be required to turn over all records requested by the DNR and pay court costs and lawyer's fees.

In March 2004, the Webster County Circuit Court ordered Hyde to close a 500-gallon waste oil tank at Young's Conoco in Marshfield and levied $18,000 in civil penalties. Hyde paid $3,000, with the remaining $15,000 suspended contingent upon future compliance with the law. On Nov. 4, 2004, a DNR inspection revealed numerous violations at the Conoco facility, including Hyde's failure to obtain either insurance or proof of financial responsibility.

Nixon has filed a motion for contempt in that case, with a hearing set for July 22 in Webster County. He will ask the court to find Hyde in contempt of court, order him to pay the $15,000 in previously suspended penalties and order him not to sell or accept deliveries of gasoline until he complies with the financial responsibility law.

Click here to view the court documents.