Fuels

EPA Settles With Nine Gas Stations Over Groundwater Violations

Enforcement actions at locations in three states

SEATTLE -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached settlements with nine gas stations in Alaska, Oregon and Washington to bring them into compliance with federal laws designed to protect underground sources of drinking water from fuel tanks stored below ground.

underground storage tank UST

The gas stations were subject to increased penalties for repeat violations, and some were blocked from receiving fuel shipments for continued non-compliance.

Under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act’s underground storage tank (UST) regulations, facilities that store petroleum or other certain hazardous liquids underground are required to install and maintain line leak detector systems on underground piping and conduct line tests.

All but one of the nine stations has agreed to correct the problems, improve their management of underground fuel tanks, and come into compliance with federal rules.

  • Holiday Alaska No. 631 (Anchorage, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests; $10,650 penalty.
  • Holiday Alaska No. 637 (Anchorage, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests; $6,390 penalty.
  • Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co. No. 77 (Palmer, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests; $6,390 penalty.
  • Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co. No. 54 (Girdwood, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests;  $6,390 penalty.
  • 76 X-Press (Tigard, Ore.): Failed to properly monitor tanks and piping which resulted in a petroleum release on the property; $13,520 penalty and fuel delivery prohibition.
  • K & J Petroleum (Portland, Ore.): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping. $6,390 penalty.
  • TJ’s Gas Station (Sheridan, Ore.): Failed to provide adequate release detection method on tanks that routinely contain product; $6,390 penalty.
  • Shell Gas Station (Hoquiam, Wash.): Failed repeatedly to properly monitor tanks and piping which resulted in a petroleum release on the property. It is prohibited from receiving fuel delivery until it returns to compliance.
  • Chevron Gas Station (Mill Creek, Wash.): Failed repeatedly to provide adequate release detection method on tanks that routinely contain product; $3,400 penalty.

Failure to properly monitor tanks and underground piping contributed to more than 6,800 new petroleum spills across the United States in 2015, the EPA said. State regulatory agencies and EPA are working to respond to prevent new groundwater contamination and petroleum spills, which add to the more than 70,000 properties contaminated from leaking underground tank systems nationwide. A leaking underground tank can present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.

In 2015, EPA strengthened its underground storage tank regulations by increasing emphasis on properly operating and maintaining underground tank equipment. The revisions will help prevent and detect underground tank releases and help ensure all underground tanks in the United States meet the same minimum standards. This was the first major revision to the federal UST regulations since 2005.

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