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Federal Entities Agree to Pay Fine, Reduce Pollution to Settle Underground Storage Tank Violations at Puerto Rico Facility

Release Date: 05/28/2009
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov or Brenda Reyes (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, P.R.) Two federal entities will pay a fine and enhance how they manage underground storage tanks at a facility in Puerto Rico to settle a case with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Puerto Rico Army National Guard and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service will together pay a $69,000 fine and ensure the underground storage tanks at their Camp Santiago facility in Salinas, P.R. comply with Puerto Rico underground storage tank requirements. The Guard will also install a system to conserve water and reduce pollution at the facility, estimated to cost $670,000. These actions resolve complaints issued by EPA to the two entities in August 2008.

An underground storage tank system commonly stores petroleum or hazardous wastes. There are about 625,000 systems nationwide, and they can harm the environment and human health if their contents are released.

“The Puerto Rico Army National Guard and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service have taken responsibility for their failure to comply with the law, and are working not just to comply, but also use water more efficiently and prevent pollution at Camp Santiago,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Underground tanks can cause serious damage as they leak, and it is critical that all entities, including the federal government properly manage them.”

Going beyond the Puerto Rico underground storage tank management requirements, the Puerto Rico Army National Guard will install a gauge to detect tank leaks automatically, and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service will develop a monitoring plan for its tanks in use in Puerto Rico. The Guard will install at Camp Santiago a system that recycles water used to wash vehicles in its fleet, which will help prevent the release of oils, grease and other substances. The system is considered a supplemental environmental project, or SEP, an environmentally-beneficial project that a violator voluntarily agrees to undertake in settlement; it must be a project that a violator will not otherwise be required to perform.

Camp Santiago is a training center for military activities, and contains vehicle fueling and maintenance areas.

For more information on underground storage tanks, visit http://www.epa.gov/oust/. For more information about EPA’s work in Puerto Rico, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/cepd/prlink.htm.

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