Molo-Twin LLC violated several petroleum tank regulations in 2021 at nine Minnesota gas stations, resulting in $107,392 of fines, according to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation. Molo-Twin is a corporation under Molo Oil Co. of Dubuque, Iowa, and Twin City Petroleum and Properties LLC of Jacksonville, Florida. It owns convenience-store chain Big 10 Marts.
MPCA staff inspections documented similar violations at each station. The companies failed to conduct routine facility and equipment inspections, testing and maintenance required to ensure compliance with their permits and reduce the risk of harmful impacts to human health and the environment. The stations are in Hibbing, Aitkin, Mankato, St. Cloud and Waite Park, Minnesota.
Specific violations, according to MPCA, include failure to:
- Install and operate overfill protection and emergency shutoff equipment.
- Conduct required line and tank leak detection inspections and testing.
- Maintain clear access to safety and monitoring equipment for routine inspections.
- Employ Class A or B operators or properly train Class C operators.
- Inspect and replace unmaintained or failing equipment.
- Conduct annual testing for line tightness on underground piping.
- Conduct monthly and/or annual facility inspections.
The nine affected gas stations, their ownership and individual fines include:
- Hibbing Marathon, owned by Twin City Petroleum and Properties, $15,368.55.
- Aitkin Marathon, owned by Twin City Petroleum and Properties, $18,688.42.
- Molo-Twin Marathon-Mankato, owned by both companies, $14,008.03.
- Molo-Twin Highway 10-St. Cloud, owned by both companies, $14,131.
- Molo-Twin 33rd Ave.-St. Cloud, owned by both companies, $14,141.69.
- Molo-Twin 9th Ave.-St. Cloud, owned by both companies, $4,619.44.
- Molo-Twin Germain-St. Cloud, owned by both companies, $4,631.09.
- Molo-Twin Gateway Tire & Auto-Waite Park, owned by both companies, $9,265.61.
- Molo-Twin 3rd St.-Waite Park, owned by both companies, $12,537.72.
In addition to paying the $107,392 civil penalty, the companies have completed a series of actions to correct violations and ensure future compliance with petroleum tank regulations.
MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment, the agency said.
When calculating penalties, MPCA considers how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
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