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U.S. EPA CITES NAVAJO NATION FACILITIES FOR FUEL TANK VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 11/2/2000
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, U.S. EPA, 415/744-1588

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency have cited six gas stations on the Navajo Nation for violations of federal underground storage tank regulations.  

     Two Mustang facilities, 2 Speedy's facilities, the Black Mesa Texaco, the Kayenta Unified School District, and Arnold's Conoco were cited fines ranging from $50-$450 for not having proper leak detection methods or for not having proper records on site.

     "Leak prevention is critical for underground fuel storage tanks since a hole the size of a pin can release 400 gallons of  fuel in a year's time, enough to foul millions of gallons of fresh water," said Bobby Ojha, EPA underground storage tank inspector.

     "Our primary goal is to protect air, land, and water resources with respect to traditional culture and values," said Michele Morris, NNEPA underground storage tank inspector.  "Given the importance of groundwater resources on the Navajo Nation, the protection of underground water sources is vital especially since over 90 percent is used for drinking water."
   
     The EPA and the NNEPA are planning future workshops to inform tank owners and operators of compliance requirements.    

     A December 1998 federal deadline required all regulated underground storage tanks to have spill and overfill equipment, corrosion protection, and release detection methods to prevent releases.  Owners and operators of substandard tanks can face penalties of up to $11,000 a day per violation in addition to cleanup costs for leaking tanks.
     
     More information on the EPA's underground storage tank program can be obtained at www.epa.gov/OUST/ or by contacting the Navajo Nation EPA underground storage tank program at (520) 871-7993 or via email at mlmorris@cia-g.com.