EPA Finds UST Violations at Federally Run Facilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued administrative complaints against three federal government entities over violations related to the management of underground storage tanks (USTs) in Puerto Rico, according to an Aug. 19 press release.

EPA issued an 11-count complaint to the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service for violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at Camp Santiago in Salinas, P.R. The agency also issued a complaint against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for alleged violations of the Solid Waste Disposal Act at two facilities in Puerto Rico.

"EPA is taking these actions to demonstrate that federal agencies are held to the same rigorous standards as the public they serve," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA regional administrator. "Underground tanks can cause serious damage as they leak, and it is critical that all entities, including the federal government, take requirements for testing and maintenance requirements seriously."

An underground storage tank system commonly stores petroleum or hazardous wastes. There are about 625,000 USTs nationwide, and they can harm the environment and human health if their contents are released.

Camp Santiago is a training center for military activities and contains vehicle fueling and maintenance areas. EPA identified violations at the center related to improper operation, testing, and maintenance of the tanks. The complaint seeks a civil penalty of $209,264.

At two facilities in Puerto Rico, USDA did not provide the required corrosion protection for its piping system and failed to conduct release detections of the tanks. USDA's violations persisted for at least a year. EPA's complaint seeks a civil penalty of $108,623.