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Grandview petroleum distributor to upgrade 180 storage tank alarm systems for customers as part of agreement with EPA

Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Christensen, Inc., a Grandview, Washington-based petroleum storage and distribution company over their failure to submit important emergency planning information for several years at five facilities in central Washington and one in Seattle. Christensen, which bills itself as the largest wholesale petroleum fuel distributor in the Pacific Northwest, stores hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, gasoline, LPG-propane, lubricating, motor oils, and other hazardous chemicals at these six facilities.

The missing information -- including on-site volumes of hazardous chemicals stored at each facility, as well as storage locations -- must be filed annually with the State Emergency Response Committee, Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local fire department, a requirement of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (Section 312).  Local firefighters and emergency responders use this inventory data and location information to better understand what kinds of chemical or hazardous substance hazards they might face if called to fight a fire or respond to another emergency at the facility. The company was issued a $65,670 penalty for these EPCRA 312 violations.

As part of the agreement, the company will also undertake a project to install high-tech, web-based monitoring systems on at least 180 underground storage tanks owned by their customers throughout Washington State and in parts of Idaho and Oregon.  The project will provide instant notification to off-site locations of events that have the potential to cause or have caused a release of hazardous substances from the tanks.

The new systems will offer users state-of-the-art technology in leak detection, providing a real-time, web-based alarm system that will send data from each particular tank to a central management system. The monitors will provide instantaneous electronic notification of failed tests, warnings, and alarms. The company will also provide advanced payment of the annual monitoring fee for one year for each system.

The alleged violations occurred at the following six facilities:

  1. Grandview Plant located at 501 East Wine Country Road in Grandview, Washington
  2. Yakima Plant located at 311 West I Street in Yakima, Washington
  3.  Pasco Plant located at 151 Commercial Avenue in Pasco, Washington 
  4. Seaport Petroleum Facility located at 7800 Detroit Avenue SW in Seattle, Washington
  5. Toppenish Plant located at 63443 Highway 97 in Toppenish, Washington
  6. Mid Valley Car Dealership located at 501 Stover Road, Grandview, Washington

Leaking underground storage tanks release fuel or other petroleum products that can contaminate surrounding soil, groundwater, or surface waters. Because most petroleum products float and ride on top of groundwater, they can even harm indoor air quality by permeating porous basements and crawl spaces. Early leak detection can help minimize the harm to groundwater and prevent costly cleanups.

For more about EPCRA section 312: