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EPA Region 6 Seeks Largest Penalty to Date for Failure to Prevent Gasoline Leaks

Release Date: 1/28/1999
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in Dallas today that the Agency has filed a complaint against Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., previously operating as Total Petroleum, for repeated violations of underground storage tank regulations at eleven locations. EPA is proposing a fine of $671,748, the largest penalty issued in the five states of Region 6 for this type of violation.

     "This complaint underscores the seriousness of the danger we all face from underground storage tanks that do not meet federal standards for leak detection and prevention. Within the last four months in the Dallas area alone, two neighborhoods have been evacuated after gasoline  leaked from underground storage tanks into sewer lines. In one instance, 55 families were displaced for nearly a week as emergency crews worked to stop the leak and to prevent explosions," Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     Cooke explained that the most common problem with substandard tanks is contamination of ground water. "Just one gallon of gasoline will ruin 5 million gallons of drinking water. With nearly half of all Americans dependent on ground water for their drinking water, its contamination is a critical public health concern," Cooke said.

      Federal regulations require underground storage tanks to have overfill and spill protection systems, leak detection systems, and corrosive protection for any buried metal parts. Owners and operators must perform adequate leak detection and document their activities. Accurate records are the only way to determine compliance with leak-detection requirements. All suspected leaks must be reported and investigated.

      EPA inspected 38 tanks located in Dallas suburbs and in Arkansas operated by Ultramar Diamond Shamrock and found 72 violations. These inspections were performed at various times during 1998 and earlier this month. They disclosed a pattern of failing to report and investigate suspected leaks. Although no leaks were detected during these inspections, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission records indicate that several of these facilities have a history of leaks.

     Service stations at the following locations were included in the complaint:

          In Arkansas:
            807 S. Caraway, Jonesboro
            1902 Fayetteville Road, VanBuren

          In Texas:
            8810 Garland Road, Dallas
            702 W. Centerville Road, Garland
            1201 Miller Road, Garland
            5950 Broadway Road, Garland
            3325 Town East Blvd., Mesquite
            1143 I-30 East, Mesquite
            3730 Hwy. 80, Mesquite
            102 Arapaho Road, Richardson
            2804 Ridge Road, Rockwall

     "We hope this complaint sends a loud and clear message to owners and operators of underground storage tanks that they must comply with environmental regulations. EPA cannot and will not allow violators to endanger the public health and threaten our environment," Cooke said.