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EPA Takes Action on Underground Petroleum Tanks; Binghamton, N.Y. Gas Stations to Install New Equipment to Ensure Tanks Are Not Leaking

Release Date: 02/23/2010
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) A Binghamton, N.Y. gas station owner will spend $160,000 to improve how its 12 gas stations detect leaks from their underground petroleum storage tank systems as the result of an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Manley’s Mighty Mart, LLC will also pay a $17,800 fine under the agreement, which addresses the company’s failure to properly monitor and test underground petroleum storage tank systems for leaks at 11 gas stations in the area. Leaking underground storage tanks pose significant threats to soil, surface water and ground water.

“Out of sight does not mean out of mind when it comes to underground storage tanks, which is why it is critical that facilities monitor their tanks and make sure they are not leaking,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “It is important that Manley’s Mighty Mart quickly came into compliance when the violations were identified and that their leak detection upgrades will go beyond required compliance, and provide an added measure of safety for protection of public health.”

The leak detection system upgrade is considered a supplemental environmental project under the agreement. A supplemental environmental project is 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. In this case, Manley’s Mighty Mart is replacing conventional leak detection devices with more technologically-advanced electronic leak detection devices at the company’s 12 area gas stations.

Routine EPA inspections of Manley’s Mighty Mart gas stations showed that from 2005 to 2007 Manley’s violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements for monitoring and testing underground petroleum storage tank systems at 11 of its gas stations in the Binghamton area. Manley’s also failed to keep and submit to EPA annual records for testing the storage tank systems. Manley’s facilities are now in compliance with the requirements.

Petroleum releases from underground storage tanks can contaminate water, making it unsafe to drink, pose fire and explosion hazards, and can have short and long-term effects on people’s health. More than 600,000 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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