Environmental Protection

Federal Agencies Settle Underground Storage Tank Violations

Six federal agencies in the District of Columbia metro area will pay fines for alleged violations of federal underground fuel storage tank (UST) regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said recently.

The U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Architect of the Capitol, the National Park Service, and the Fort Myer Military Community have been cited by the agency for primarily failing to test for fuel leaks from underground tanks.

With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil and other petroleum products stored in underground storage tanks throughout the United States, leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination (groundwater is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans). Federal and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks that do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.

The inspections performed by EPA at these facilities were required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which mandated that all federal underground storage tanks not inspected since December 1998 be inspected by the August 2007 deadline. In 2007, 11 underground storage tank violations at federal facilities were settled for a total civil penalty of $48,288. These enforcement actions prevented 72,775 gallons of contaminants from release into soil and groundwater.

U.S. Secret Service, Edgewater Stable, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Secret Service for failing to conduct release detection tests on its 10,000-gallon tank containing gasoline; for failing to report a suspected release when the monitoring system indicated a failure on April 2, 2007; and for failing to immediately investigate and confirm a release or suspected releases. The Secret Service will pay a $12,291 civil penalty.

U.S. Architect of the Capitol, Capital Grounds Garage, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Architect of the Capitol for failing to conduct release detection on a 4,000-gallon tank containing gasoline. The Architect of the Capitol will pay a $5,078 civil penalty.

National Park Service and Guest Services, Inc., Columbia Island Marina, Washington, D.C.  EPA cited National Park Services and Guest Services for failing to provide release detection monitoring on two 5,000-gallon tanks. The National Park Services and Guest Services will pay a $14,564 civil penalty.

National Park Service and CASCO Marina Development, LLC, James Creek Marina, Washington, D.C.  EPA cited the National Park Service and CASCO for failing to perform release detection; failing to conduct leak detector testing annually, and failing to conduct line tightness testing and monthly monitoring for two 10,000-gallon tanks containing gasoline and diesel fuel. National Park Service and CASCO will pay a $9,225 civil penalty.

National Park Service, U.S. Park Police facility, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the National Park Service for failing to perform release detection monitoring on one 6,000 gallon tank containing gasoline. The National Park Service will pay a $9,263 civil penalty.

Fort Myer Military Community, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Fort Myer Military Community for failing to conduct leak detector testing annually on piping for three 10,000-gallon tanks containing gasoline and for failing to maintain release detection records at the facility. Fort Myer Military Community will pay a $26,106 penalty.

U.S. Postal Service, Capital Heights Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Capital Heights, Md.  There are six underground storage tanks – one 20,000-gallon tank containing diesel fuel, one 10,000-gallon tank containing gasoline, and four 1,000-gallon tanks containing motor oil, ethylene glycol, waste motor oil, and waste ethylene glycol. EPA cited the Postal Service for failing to install equipment that would prevent spilling and overfilling when the material was transferred to the UST system. The violation involved one 20,000-gallon tank and two 1,000-gallon tanks. The Postal Service will pay a $16,624 civil penalty.

U.S. Postal Service, Delivery Annex, Silver Spring, Md. EPA cited the U.S. Postal Service for failing to perform release detection, failing to perform annual leak detector testing and failing to perform line tightness testing or monthly monitoring on a 10,000 gallon take containing gasoline. The Postal Service will pay a $16,785 civil penalty.

In settlement agreements with EPA, the cited agencies neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations but did certify compliance with applicable UST regulations.

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