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EPA files complaint against Van’s Trading Co. for underground storage tank violations

Release Date: 03/27/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 03/27/2006) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently filed a complaint against Van’s Trading Company in Tuba City, Ariz. and operator Lucky Mokhesi for underground storage tank violations at their facility on the Navajo Nation.

In April, EPA inspectors discovered that the company failed to test line tightness or use monthly leak detection monitoring on its petroleum underground storage tanks, and failed to conduct annual leak detector tests. The company also failed to have insurance to address accidental releases from its underground storage tanks.

“We expect tank owners and operators to properly maintain their tanks to prevent them from leaking,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “One hole the size of a pin can release 400 gallons of fuel in a year's time.”

The company’s facility has two gasoline tanks and one diesel underground tank. Van’s Trading Company is facing penalties of up to $11,000 per day per violation.

To prevent releases, federal law required all regulated underground storage tanks to have spill and overfill equipment, and corrosion protection in place by Dec. 22, 1998. Releases that are detected quickly can be cleaned up faster and at a far less expense than releases that go undetected for long periods of time. Although the compliance date has long since passed, regulatory agencies still find violations.

The EPA anticipates increased compliance rates in the future based on the recently-passed Energy Policy Act of 2005, which requires states to inspect each underground storage tank every three years.

The EPA frequently conducts unannounced tank inspections. For more information on the EPA’s underground storage tank program, visit: