EPA focus on groundwater protection results in nine enforcement actions at gas stations in Alaska, Oregon & Washington

The gas stations were subject to increased penalties for repeat violations, and some were blocked from receiving fuel shipments for continued non-compliance.

Seattle, WA, Feb. 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
    Holiday Alaska #637
    Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company#77
    Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company #54
    76 X-Press
    K & J Petroleum
    TJ’s Gas Station
    Shell Gas Station
    Chevron Gas Station

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.

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