Fines Imposed for Violations of Federal Rules on Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks
The EPA has announced fines for companies, including Wawa Inc. and AT&T Inc., for violating federal regulations on underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs). These violations pose a threat to soil and water quality. The EPA is committed to holding c...
Troy D. Hanson
October 30, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Monday that several prominent companies, including Wawa Inc. and AT&T Inc., have agreed to pay fines for alleged violations of federal regulations governing the operation and maintenance of underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs). This enforcement action aims to hold these companies accountable and ensure compliance with the EPA's regulations.
Protecting Soil and Water Quality
The EPA emphasized that the improper operation or maintenance of USTs can lead to leaks of petroleum and other hazardous substances, posing a significant threat to soil and water quality. As a result, it is crucial for companies to adhere to the agency's regulations to prevent such environmental hazards.
As part of the settlement agreements, the companies involved have also committed to conducting thorough reviews of their compliance programs. This step guarantees that they align with the EPA's regulations and take necessary measures to prevent violations.
Wawa Inc., a well-known fuel retailer with over 1,000 retail fuel and convenience stores along the East Coast, settled with the EPA for violating federal UST regulations pertaining to gasoline or diesel fuel. Following inspections in February and March 2022, the EPA found that Wawa failed to meet operator training, record-keeping, and leak detection requirements for USTs. Consequently, Wawa has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $26,500 and certify its compliance with UST regulations at its facilities.
AT&T Transoceanic Comm. LLC, an industry-leading telecommunications giant, also faced consequences for non-compliance with federal rules on spill prevention, inspections, and operator training at three of its facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The EPA conducted inspections at these facilities in 2022. AT&T owns and operates USTs specifically designed for emergency power generators. Although the EPA did not disclose the amount of the fine, the enforcement actions against AT&T reflect the necessity of adhering to UST regulations.
Commitment to Environmental Responsibility
These enforcement actions highlight the EPA's commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring that companies operate in accordance with federal regulations. By holding companies accountable for violations related to USTs, the EPA aims to mitigate risks to soil and water quality caused by leaks of petroleum and hazardous substances.
Rest assured, the EPA will remain vigilant in monitoring compliance with UST regulations, encouraging a responsible approach towards underground petroleum storage.
AT&T Fined $40,000 for Violating Underground Storage Tank Regulations
AT&T has agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty and conduct a comprehensive audit of its compliance with all underground storage tank (UST) rules at its facilities in New York and New Jersey, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA has also announced similar settlements with five other companies operating 24 gas stations in the same areas. These companies were found to be in violation of federal regulations on USTs containing gasoline or diesel, resulting in fines totaling $225,000.
Nationwide, there are approximately 542,000 underground storage tanks that store petroleum or hazardous substances. The EPA highlights that the most significant potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater - a vital source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. Additionally, leaks also elevate the risk of fire and explosions.
The agency explains that until the mid-1980s, most USTs were constructed from bare steel, which is prone to corrosion over time. This corrosion can lead to leaks and the subsequent release of UST contents into the environment. The improper installation or inadequate implementation of operating and maintenance procedures can also contribute to UST leaks.