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Focus on groundwater protection results in nine enforcement actions at gas stations in Alaska, Oregon and Washington

Release Date: 02/23/2016
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, 206-553-2160, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

(Seattle – February 23, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached settlements with nine gas stations in Alaska, Oregon and Washington to bring them into compliance with federal laws designed to protect underground sources of drinking water from fuel tanks stored below ground. The gas stations were subject to increased penalties for repeat violations, and some were blocked from receiving fuel shipments for continued non-compliance.

“Underground fuel tank owners and operators must be knowledgeable and safely operate their systems to prevent harmful releases,” said Peter Contreras, Manager of EPA’s Groundwater Unit in Seattle. “Repeat violators will face stiffer penalties and may be blocked from receiving fuel shipments.”

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s underground storage tank regulations, facilities that store petroleum or other certain hazardous liquids underground are required to install and maintain line leak detector systems on underground piping and conduct line tests.

All but one of the nine stations listed below has agreed to correct the problems, improve their management of underground fuel tanks, and come into compliance with federal rules. Shell Gas Station in Hoquiam, Washington is prohibited from receiving fuel delivery until it returns to compliance.

    Holiday Alaska #631 (Anchorage, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests. $10,650 penalty.

    Holiday Alaska #637 (Anchorage, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests. $6,390 penalty.

    Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company #77 (Palmer, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests. $6,390 penalty.

    Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company #54 (Girdwood, Alaska): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping by delaying required annual line tests. $6,390 penalty.

    76 X-Press (Tigard, Oregon): Failed to properly monitor tanks and piping which resulted in a petroleum release on the property. $13,520 penalty and fuel delivery prohibition.

    K & J Petroleum (Portland, Oregon): Failed to provide an adequate line leak detector system on underground piping. $6,390 penalty.

    TJ’s Gas Station (Sheridan, Oregon): Failed to provide adequate release detection method on tanks that routinely contain product. $6,390 penalty.

    Shell Gas Station (Hoquiam, Washington): Failed repeatedly to properly monitor tanks and piping which resulted in a petroleum release on the property. Fuel delivery prohibition.

    Chevron Gas Station (Mill Creek, Washington): Failed repeatedly to provide adequate release detection method on tanks that routinely contain product. $3,400 penalty.

Failure to properly monitor tanks and underground piping contributed to more than 6,800 new petroleum spills across the United States in 2015. State regulatory agencies and EPA are working to respond to prevent new groundwater contamination and petroleum spills, which add to the over 70,000 properties contaminated from leaking underground tank systems nationwide. A leaking underground tank can present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.

In 2015, EPA strengthened its underground storage tank regulations by increasing emphasis on properly operating and maintaining underground tank equipment. The revisions will help prevent and detect underground tank releases and help ensure all underground tanks in the U.S., including those in Indian country, meet the same minimum standards. This is the first major revision to the federal underground storage tank regulations since 2005.

More information on EPA’s underground storage tank regulations: http://www.epa.gov/ust.