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EPA and Army Settle Fort Lewis Underground Storage Tank Case

Release Date: 5/21/2001
Contact Information: Contact: Claire Hong
hong.claire@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-1813


01-15 - - - - - - - - - - May 21, 2001


The U.S. Army has agreed to pay $60,000 in penalties and will perform at least $200,000 in Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) as part of a settlement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Fort Lewis Underground Storage Tank (UST) case. EPA filed a complaint in September, 2000, for violations of UST requirements discovered during a 1999 inspection.

As part of the settlement, the Army has agreed to remove a number of unregulated underground heating oil tanks from Fort Lewis. In addition, if contamination is found during the tank removals, the Army will cleanup the contamination.

According to Chuck Findley, EPA Acting Regional Administrator, the Agency has noted significant improvement in Fort Lewis= underground storage tank management program since the inspection and complaint.

AThe Army has taken a number of steps to both address its UST program deficiencies and to reduce the number of regulated USTs on the base,@ Findley said. ANot only have all violations alleged in the complaint have now been addressed, but Fort Lewis has also made tangible improvements in environmental management.@

Fort Lewis is home to more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. Base operations include conducting field exercises, training, maintenance and use of aircraft and other vehicles, and the repair/refurbishment of weapons systems. Underground storage tanks (USTs) at Fort Lewis serve a number of functions including providing fuel for vehicle use and emergency generators.

Releases or spills from USTs can have significant impact on human health and the environment. Since most of the drinking water in the area is obtained from relatively shallow groundwater sources, it is potentially vulnerable to contamination.