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.
There were no concerns about the integrity of the 1,300-mile Keystone oil pipeline following a May 29 spill in Kansas, the U.S. government said.
Canadian pipeline company TransCanada restarted the Keystone oil pipeline during the weekend. The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action prohibiting a restart last week but reconsidered in time for a Sunday restart.
Julia Valentine, a spokeswoman for the PHMSA, was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying there weren’t any concerns about the integrity of Keystone.
“Every pipeline incident is unique,” she said. “In this case, the failure did not raise concerns for the integrity of the pipeline.”
Keystone transits around 591,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada. A May 29 leak in Kansas spilled about 10 barrels of oil. There were 11 separate spills on the pipeline recently though the company said all were relatively minor.
TransCanada is pushing for a $13.3 billion extension to the pipeline. The project is scrutinized by regulators and environmentalists who worry about the potential for spills and uncertainty about the safety of transiting oil from tar sands in Canada.