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District of Columbia Preserves 250 acres of Land as Part of Settlement with EPA for Alleged Underground Storage Tank Violations

Release Date: 10/18/2012
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113, heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 18, 2012) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Government of the District of Columbia has taken legal measures to preserve the open space of approximately 250 acres of land in Anne Arundel County, Md. The District’s action finalizes the settlement of an EPA administrative case involving underground storage tanks (USTs) at the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services facility, located at 8300 Riverton Court, Laurel, Md.

Under a 2010 settlement agreement with EPA, the District paid a $73,489 penalty, removed 14 USTs and approximately 725 tons of contaminated soil at the facility in Anne Arundel County. As part of the settlement, the District also agreed to complete a supplemental environmental project to preserve open space in Laurel, Md., working in cooperation with three non-profit conservation groups.

On September 26, 2012, the District conveyed a quit claim conservation easement to the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Inc., and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, Inc. to protect a 250-acre site including woodlands, wooded wetlands, open emergent wetlands, and the Little Patuxent River. The purpose of the quit claim conservation easement is to preserve open space, to protect the natural wildlife habitat (including important habitat for forest-dwelling birds); and to foster low impact recreational uses and activities such as nature study, orienteering, hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

The 2010 settlement between the EPA and the District resolved alleged violations of federal and Maryland regulations of USTs, including failure to install spill prevention equipment intended to prevent releases and spills, failure to install overfill prevention equipment; failure to provide corrosion protection, and failure to register nine USTs with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products stored in underground storage tanks nationwide, leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. EPA and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks which do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups. For more information on EPA’s Underground Storage Tank program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/swerust1/.