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Baltimore-area gas stations settle clean air violations

Release Date: 10/23/2008
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (October 23, 2008) - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that 11 gas stations in the City of Baltimore and the surrounding county have agreed to pay civil penalties and come into compliance with Clean Air Act regulations. These stations are located in Baltimore, Cantonville, Curtis Bay, Gwynn Oak, Owings Mills, Randallstown, Reisterstown, and Timonium.

EPA cited the stations for a variety of alleged violations that could release harmful volatile organic compounds into the air as customers fill up their gas tanks and when gasoline is delivered to the stations. Volatile organic compounds contribute to ground-level ozone pollutants.

The alleged violations include failure to use federally approved pump nozzles that recover gasoline vapors, failure to repair damaged or defective pump nozzles, failure to remove the overflow of gasoline spilled while delivering it to storage tanks, failure to repair damaged storage system caps and piping, failure to provide adequate training and instructions to the operators of the gasoline dispensing facilities, failure to maintain records of system operation and failure to have signs posted on how to use the systems with a telephone number to call if there is a problem. The alleged violations all relate to gasoline vapor recovery systems.

"Since high levels of ozone smog can cause serious breathing problems, especially for people with asthma, controlling these pollutants is important to protecting public health," said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. "Vapor recovery systems capture 90 percent of the vapors released during refueling. So, installing and maintaining these systems is important to our air quality."

These alleged violations were found during EPA inspections in February 2008. The gas stations have agreed to pay $12,500 in civil penalties, with individual station penalties from $500 to $1,500. As a part of expedited settlements, the parties have certified they will come into compliance with federal air requirements for vapor recovery and control, and did not contest the penalties.

The stations are:
1. Unique Services, Inc. doing business as (d/b/a) a BP Gas Station
8710 Liberty Road, Randallstown, MD 21133

2. SMO, Inc. d/b/a Shell Station
925 Fredrick Road, Catonville, MD 21228

3. SMO, Inc. d/b/a Nicholes Fleet Street Shell
601S.Luzerne Ave., Baltimore, MD 21224

4. SMO, Inc. d/b/a a Shell Gasoline Station
11903 Reisterstown Road, Reisterstown, MD 21136

5. SMO, Inc. d/b/a Greenspring Shell Gasoline Station
2859 Smith Ave., Baltimore, MD 21209

6. Gursharan Sawhney d/b/a BP Station #24-510-02632
4101 Pennington Avenue, Curtis Bay, MD 21226

7. Carroll Independent Fuel Company d/b/a Margate Sunoco Gas Station
1545 York Road, Timonium, MD 21093

8. PMA Real Estate LLC d/b/a Painters Mill BP Auto Center
10231 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

9. S.P. Marketing, LLC d/b/a Russell Street BP
2000 Haines Street Baltimore, MD 21230

10. Two Farms, Inc., d/b/a Royal Farms #86
3601 Potee St., Baltimore, MD 21225

11. Choes' Citgo Station
2012 N. Forrest Park Avenue
Gwynn Oak, MD 21207

Baltimore City and the rest of the county is the fourth area in which EPA's mid-Atlantic regional office has undertaken inspections and enforcement actions at gas stations for ground-level ozone requirements. The other areas are Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Allegheny County, Pa., where like Baltimore the regional air quality does not meet allowable limits for ozone.

Today’s action contributes to EPA's record-shattering enforcement results for the 2008 fiscal year. To date, EPA has concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to spend an estimated $11 billion on pollution controls, clean-up and environmental projects, an all time record for EPA. After these activities are completed, EPA expects annual pollution reductions of more than three billion pounds.