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EPA Takes Action against Buffalo Area Gas Stations to Protect Ground Water from Petroleum Contamination

Release Date: 08/14/2012
Contact Information: John Martin (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov.

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a legal complaint to the owners and operators of twenty-two underground storage tanks at gasoline stations in the Buffalo, New York area for violating various federal regulations dealing with ground water from petroleum contamination. The complaint, which seeks $582,803 in penalties, was issued to Amerimart Development Company, Inc., Qual-Econ Lease Co., Inc., Commercial Realty Fund II, MJG Enterprises Inc., and Clear Alternative of Western NY, Inc. (d.b.a. G & G Petroleum). These companies are either past or present owners or operators of gas stations in Buffalo, Amherst, and Tonawanda, N.Y. In addition to paying penalties, the complaint requires the facilities to all come into full compliance with the regulations.

“Gas station owners need to be vigilant in making sure that their petroleum storage tanks do not cause pollution,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “When underground tanks are not properly maintained, ground water can be contaminated, putting people and the environment at risk.”

Ground water is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. When petroleum or other hazardous substances leak from underground tanks, such leaks are difficult and expensive to clean, particularly if they involve a public source of drinking water.

The complaint alleges that one or more of the companies failed to:

    • Test the protection systems for two tanks and two fuel lines
    • Meet corrosion protection or other new standards for two tanks and seven fuel lines
    • Conduct release detection every thirty days on eleven tanks
    • Perform annual tests of automatic line leak detector systems for nineteen underground storage tanks
    • Provide adequate equipment to protect against tank overfills for thirteen underground storage tanks
    • Conduct an annual line tightness test or conduct monthly monitoring of underground pressurized piping for seventeen fuel lines
    • Properly cap off two temporarily closed underground storage tanks
    • Keep adequate records of release detection monitoring for three facilities
    • Respond to a request for information for one facility

The law authorizes EPA to seek between $11,000 and $16,000 per tank for each day a violation exists

For more information on proper maintenance of Underground Storage Tanks, visit: http://www.epa.gov/oust/

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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