The U.S. Navy has agreed to pay a $5,855 penalty to settle alleged underground storage tank (UST) violations at its Building NH94, located at 7918 Blandy St., Norfolk, Va., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
There are three 25,000-gallon underground storage tanks at this facility containing diesel fuel. Each UST is required to be tested every three years to make sure the tank is not corroded and that the corrosion protection system is operating properly. During a March 2011 inspection, the inspectors found that these tanks had not been tested since 2004.
The $5,855 settlement penalty reflects cooperation of the U.S. Navy with EPA in the investigation and resolution of this matter. The Navy has certified its compliance with applicable UST requirements and the tanks were tested for corrosion on April 4, 2011.
Underground storage tanks must be tested to prevent leaks, because the greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. These leaks can threaten public safety and health as well as the environment because UST systems contain hazardous and toxic chemicals. Cleaning up petroleum leaks is difficult and usually expensive. Federal regulations ensure that USTs are structurally sound because it is easier and less costly to prevent leaks before they happen.
The owners and operators of three AMA Mini Mart gas stations in Klamath Falls, Oregon, have agreed to pay $30,000 for failing to properly monitor seven underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs) for leaks for over two years.
Under federal and state rules, owners and operators of USTs are required to test tanks for leaks on a monthly basis in order to protect groundwater from pollution.
According to Edward Kowalski, EPA’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, leaking tanks can also endanger drinking water.
“Out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to underground fuel storage tanks,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “Groundwater is often a community’s only source of drinking water. Owners of tanks must do their part to prevent oil and gas leaks and help protect people from polluted water.”
EPA inspected the AMA Mini Marts in October 2009 and found that all of the USTs at the three sites lacked the required monthly release detection for the tanks and annual testing required for the associated piping, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
EPA alleges that AMA Mini Mart owner Anesti Audeh was in violation from at least October 2008 through March 2011. The owner has since taken action to bring the three AMA Mini Mart facilities into compliance and has agreed to submit compliance documentation to EPA for the next six months.