Wash. Gas Station Fined For Failing to Monitor Leaks in Underground Fuel Tanks

Central Valley Grocery gas station in Poulsbo, Wash., has agreed to pay $11,356 for failing to properly monitor three underground storage tanks (USTs) for leaks for more than a year.

Owners and operators of USTs are required to test their tanks for leaks on a monthly basis. Failure to do so puts ground water at risk and is a violation of both state and federal law.

According to Edward Kowalski, EPA’s director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, leaking USTs are a major cause of groundwater contamination in the United States. Congress enacted laws requiring UST owners and operators to prevent tanks from leaking, detect leaks quickly if they do occur, and clean up leaking tanks.

“Leaking tanks have the potential to endanger drinking water sources, so tank leak prevention and detection are crucial,” Kowalski said. “Conducting regular checks is a small investment that can prevent costly, complex soil and groundwater cleanups."

EPA inspected the Central Valley Grocery station in December 2008 and found that the release detection equipment was not operating and that the owners failed to use other methods to properly check the integrity of the tanks. According to owner/operators Julius Templeton and T & A LLC, their attempts to correct the problem in 2009 were unsuccessful.

EPA alleges that Central Valley Grocery remained in violation from at least December 2007 through June 2010. The owners installed new equipment in November 2010, and the three tanks are now in compliance.