Across the nation, pockets of groundwater have become so polluted from leaking underground gasoline storage tanks, that drinking water has been ruined, and multi-million dollar cleanups will take decades to redress the contamination.
That's why, for years, the Environmental Protection Agency and its state counterparts, have required gasoline station owners to take a number of steps to monitor, detect and prevent leaks. Over time, even a leak the size of a pin hole in an underground storage tank can contaminate the water that flows under homes for miles.
And, now, the EPAs Environmental Appeals Board has upheld a record $3.2 million penalty against the owner of 23 Mid-Atlantic region gas stations. Euclid of Virginia Inc. owned "Lowest Price" stations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and refused to comply with regulations relative to upkeep and monitoring of underground storage tanks, according to the EPA. For instance, the gas stations did not maintain leak detection and control equipment, didn't comply with corrosion-prevention standards and never installed equipment that would prevent spills related to overfilling of tanks.
These types of laws are the equivalent of exercise and diet in a preventative medicine routine. They aren't sexy and they aren't celebrated. But they keep costly and unhealthy pollution from happening in the first place.
With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products stored in underground tanks, leaving them unchecked can cause major soil and groundwater contamination, said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator of EPAs mid-Atlantic region. This decision should send a strong message to owners of underground storage tanks that it is not only in the publics best interest but in their own, too, to comply with leak detection and prevention requirements.
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