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EPA Takes Action against Buffalo Area Gas Station Owner to Protect Ground Water

Release Date: 08/03/2011
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken action against Schmitt Sales, Inc. of Buffalo for improperly managing underground tanks used to store gasoline and other fuels at two of its facilities in the Buffalo area and eight other locations throughout the state. Petroleum releases from underground storage tanks can contaminate ground water, making it unsafe to drink, pose fire and explosion hazards, and damage people’s health. EPA cited Schmitt for failing to: properly test and maintain records of corrosion protection, install or operate overfill prevention devices, properly close out of service tanks, and maintain records of leak detection monitoring.

“Underground petroleum leaks can spread quickly and contaminate ground water and soil, which is why it is critical for gas station owners to monitor their tanks,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “I encourage all gas station owners to properly maintain their underground fuel storage tanks and guard against potential leaks.”

The Buffalo-area gasoline service stations owned or operated by Schmitt that are named in the complaint are Tubby’s Corner Quick Stop in Angola and Schmitt’s Robo Mart in Williamsville. The other Schmitt-owned service stations are: Brooks Super Duper in Cattaraugus; Dutch Hollow Market in Avon; Echoes on the Lake in Hammond; Parkview Market in Mayville; Pine Valley Busy Mart in Pine Valley; T-Burg Foodline, Inc. in Trumansburg; Cassadaga Supermarket in Cassadaga; and Ducky’s in Friendship.

EPA’s complaint alleged that the owner and/or operators failed to:

  • Test the protection system that is designed to prevent corrosion, in twelve underground tanks;
  • Provide adequate overfill prevention equipment for five underground tanks;
  • Properly cap off and permanently close two underground tanks; and
  • Maintain adequate records of leak detection monitoring in nine tanks.

EPA regulations require owners and operators to maintain underground storage tanks to avoid leaks into the environment. In addition, the regulations require owners and operators to clean up leaks to restore and protect ground water resources, and provide a safe environment for those who live or work around these sites. About 625,000 underground storage tank systems exist nationwide, and more than 375,000 leaking tanks have been cleaned up over the last decade.

For more information on underground storage tanks, visit http://www.epa.gov/oust

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