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Groundwater Protected as Army Settles EPA Complaint Over Underground Oil Tanks

Release Date: 11/1/2000
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

WASHINGTON, DC and SILVER SPRING, MD - The U.S. Army has settled with the EPA over alleged underground storage tank violations at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the Center’s Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Md.

The Army will pay an $86,715 penalty to settle EPAs two complaints, and will revise its operating procedures to comply with federal and state regulations designed to prevent, detect, and control leaks of petroleum and other hazardous materials from underground tanks.

EPA Regional Administrator Bradley Campbell said that EPA will continue working with D.C. and state officials to ensure that federal facilities, as well as private parties, comply with regulations.

ALeaking underground tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. Since more than half of all Americans use groundwater as their drinking water source, it is vital that we protect this important resource,” Campbell said.

EPA’s June 1998 administrative complaints alleged violations involving five diesel fuel tanks at Walter Reeds main hospital facility in D.C., and four diesel fuel tanks at the Forest Glen Annex. These tanks range in capacity from 2,000 to 10,000 gallons.

In the D.C. case, the Army allegedly violated regulations requiring owners to permanently close or remove their tanks within 12 months after taken out of service, if the tanks do not meet requirements to prevent releases. In addition, EPA alleged that the Army failed to promptly report suspected releases.

In the Maryland case, EPA cited the Army for failing to use corrosion-protected steel piping in one 2,000-gallon tank and to comply with proper leak detection procedures in two 10,000-gallon tanks. For another tank, of unknown capacity, the Army allegedly violated a Maryland rule requiring tanks to be closed or brought up to federal standards within six months of being taken out of service. As at its sister facility in DC, EPA charged the Army with failing to promptly report suspected releases from tanks at the Forest Glen Annex. In addition, EPA claimed that the Army failed to properly install tank piping on two 10,000-gallon tanks at Forest Glen.

In the settlement papers, the Army neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations.


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