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Owners of Buffalo-Area Gas Stations Ordered to Pay $290,000 in Penalties

Release Date: 09/04/2014
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The owners and operators of four gasoline stations in the Buffalo, New York area have been ordered to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a total of $287,100 in penalties. In August 2012, the EPA issued a complaint to owners and operators of gas stations in Buffalo, Amherst, and Tonawanda, N.Y., alleging violations of numerous federal regulations aimed at protecting water from petroleum contamination. One of the companies, Amerimart Development Company, reached an agreement with the EPA to settle alleged violations regarding underground storage tanks at gas stations it owned and operated. Three other companies named in the complaint, Qual-Econ Lease Co., Inc., MJG Enterprises, Inc., and Clear Alternative of Western NY, Inc. (d.b.a. G & G Petroleum), chose not to resolve the problems despite numerous attempts by the EPA and an Administrative Law Judge to resolve this case. These three companies have now been ordered by a judge to bring their gas stations into compliance with federal law and to pay the penalties within 30 days.

      “Gas station owners will be held accountable if they fail to follow environmental rules that protect our water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “When ground water is not protected from improperly maintained petroleum storage tanks, people and the environment are put at risk. All gas station owners must regularly monitor their underground storage tanks to prevent petroleum leaks.”

      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 drinking water.

      The August 2012 complaint against these companies alleged that one or more of them failed to:
        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

      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 Facebook at http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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