PHILADELPHIA -- The United States has settled alleged violations of federal and state underground storage tank (UST) regulations at 17 gas stations in Delaware and Maryland formerly owned by Duncan Petroleum Corp., the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware announced today.
The case stems from the alleged failure of Robert M. Duncan and Duncan Petroleum Corp. to comply with the regulations governing underground storage tanks at Duncan’s 17 gas stations in Delaware and Maryland and for failing to perform compliance tasks under a 2006 Consent Agreement. Duncan had agreed to complete the tasks in order to bring five of the Maryland gas stations into compliance with the underground storage tank regulations.
"These defendants violated their obligation to bring several large underground storage tanks into compliance with the law," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The precedent-setting $2 million civil penalty that they will pay in this settlement is appropriate in light of the unacceptable risk created by their misconduct."
"Properly maintaining underground storage tanks is essential to protecting our soil and valuable groundwater resources," said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "Today’s settlement shows that EPA and DOJ will not hesitate to pursue companies that violate the law."
"By refusing to comply with the terms of the consent decree defendants endangered the lives of citizens of Delaware and Maryland," said David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware. "This settlement holds defendants accountable and demonstrates that such misconduct will not be tolerated."
Robert M. Duncan will pay a $2 million penalty for these violations on or before Dec. 15, 2010, plus interest beginning on August 2, the date the Stipulation and Order was filed with the court.
The civil judicial complaint was filed on Dec. 17, 2008, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act alleging violations of Delaware and Maryland UST regulations requiring that owners and operators of petroleum UST systems: 1) provide release detection for underground storage tanks; 2) provide release detection for underground piping; 3) provide and annually test line leak detectors; 4) provide overfill protection; 5) investigate and report suspected releases; 6) provide and test cathodic protection systems; 7) inspect impressed current protection systems; and 8) maintain corrosion protection on out-of-service UST systems. The company failed to comply with one or more of these requirements at each of the facilities.
The eight Delaware gas stations were located in Seaford, Bridgeville, Rehoboth, Dover, and Camden. In Maryland, there were nine locations in Salisbury, Snow Hill, Cambridge, Chestertown, Easton, Federalsburg and Preston.
With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil and other petroleum products stored in underground storage tanks throughout the U.S., leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. EPA and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks which do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.
For more information on EPA’s underground storage tank program, visit www.epa.gov/swerust1/.