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EPA proposes penalties for underground storage tank violations at two Idaho convenience stores

Release Date: 3/31/2005
Contact Information: Adam Baron
(206) 553-6361

March 31, 2005

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has filed an administrative complaint and compliance order against the owner and operators of two Idaho convenience stores for not complying with federal regulations for underground storage tanks (UST).

The complaint filed against David Wendland and his two companies, Grocery Express, Inc. and Hailey Mini Mart, Inc., includes a proposed penalty of $43,686 for alleged violations at the Mountain View Grocery and the Hailey Mini Mart located in Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho, respectively.

According to EPA officials, the owner was unable to provide records during an April 2004 inspection that showed required corrosion testing had been completed at the Mountain View Grocery facility. The owner was also unable to provide inspectors with documentation of financial responsibility for both the Mountain View and Hailey Mini Mart facilities.

Federal laws require owners of undearground storage tanks to carry insurance or otherwise provide proof of financial responsibility in order to protect taxpayers from having to pay for costly cleanups in the event of a leak or spill. Both facilities had been previously cited in 2001 for similar violations that were unresolved.

UST regulations are critical to protecting groundwater from petroleum leaks, especially in Idaho where 95% of the drinking water comes from groundwater wells. In the past year, the EPA has increased the number of inspections at gas stations and convenience stores as part of an ongoing effort to protect Idaho’s groundwater. The results suggest as many as two thirds of the facilities in Idaho are still not making leak detection and prevention a priority. Idaho is the only state in the U.S. without an underground storage tank regulatory program, so the responsibility to inspect the 1,350 facilities statewide falls to EPA.

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