United States Announces Settlement of Claims Against Corporation for Violating Federal Leak Prevention Requirements at Twenty-five Metropolitan New York City Gas Stations
Twenty-four defendants in a federal civil environmental case have settled claims against them concerning violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at twentyfive gas stations that they have owned or operated in the metropolitan New York City area, including six facilities on Long Island. The violations involve over 150 underground storage tanks, which typically contain large quantities of gasoline and waste oil and can cause serious environmental damage if allowed to leak.
The settlement was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2.
The amended complaint alleges violations of RCRA against ASTI HOLDING CORP., twenty-two related corporate entities, and individual defendant JOSEPH MACCHIA, JR. The defendants, as owners or operators of the underground storage tanks at the gas stations, allegedly failed to comply with the requirements for: (a) upgrading and maintaining corrosion protection on steel underground storage tanks; (b) conducting and maintaining leak detection prevention procedures; (c) properly closing out-of-service tanks and testing the surrounding area for possible leaks from the tanks; (d) registration of waste oil tanks; (e) financial responsibility for environmental cleanup and for compensating third parties for bodily injury and property damage caused by accidental releases from underground storage tanks; and (f) cooperating with EPA by providing information about their underground storage tanks. The amended complaint also alleges that defendant NORTHLAND MARKETING CORP. violated a 1997 Consent Agreement and Consent Order with EPA that required compliance with all requirements of Subtitle I of RCRA and its regulations governing UST (underground storage tank) systems. Compliance with these requirements is vital to ensure the integrity of tanks, to prevent the release of petroleum product to soil and groundwater, and to ensure that clean-up monies would be available in the event of an accidental release.
In enacting Subtitle I of RCRA, Congress declared it was a national policy to regulate the management and operation of underground storage tanks so as to minimize the threat to human health and the environment. RCRA protects the public from releases from underground storage systems, which typically contain petroleum products, such as waste oils and gasoline. These substances can harm the environment and human health if the tanks or piping connected to them release their stored contents. A leaking UST can potentially contaminate soil and groundwater. In addition, fumes from released substances can pose health problems by entering into homes or subway systems located above or near contaminated groundwater. A leaking UST can also present other risks, including the potential for fire and explosion. According to the amended complaint, there have been petroleum releases from underground storage tanks at thirteen of defendants’ facilities resulting in contamination. Remaining cleanup of past petroleum releases is being performed under the oversight of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
In connection with the settlement, the defendants have undertaken measures valued at approximately $750,000 to come into compliance with RCRA. The defendants, and five other related corporate entities, have committed to remain in compliance in the future at the twentyseven gas stations that they continue to own or operate and to submit regular reports to EPA to show that they are in compliance with release detection, cathodic protection, financial responsibility, and other RCRA requirements, and to demonstrate compliance with DEC corrective action plan for petroleum cleanup work. The defendants have also agreed to pay a $650,000 civil monetary penalty to the federal government, which amount was calculated after conducting an analysis of defendants’ ability to pay the penalty. The settlement provides for penalties for noncompliance with these provisions.
“The defendants violated federal environmental laws by failing to take all the necessary steps to prevent or detect releases from their underground storage tanks,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “These failures exposed the people and environment in and around New York City to unacceptable risks. Today’s settlement, including the substantial civil penalties, serves as a deterrent to such actions in the future by these defendants and others who seek to evade their legal obligations.”
EPA Regional Administrator Steinberg stated, “New Yorkers and the environment win with this settlement because it means that the underground storage tanks involved in this case will now be managed properly. Proper operation of underground tanks helps avoid the harm that releases of petroleum products can have on human health, soil, air, and ground water. It is essential that gas stations have and properly use the required release detection equipment so they know if a leak occurs.”
The settlement was subject to a 30-day public comment period, during which time no comments were received. The settlement is conditioned upon approval by the United States District Court before becoming final.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sandra L. Levy. EPA was represented by Assistant Regional Counsel Stuart Keith.
Asti Holding Corp.
JP Christy, Inc. a/k/a “P.J. Christy, Inc.”
Venice Equities Inc.
EM-ESS Petroleum Corp.
Northland Marketing Corp.
Wheatley Petroleum LLC
2800 Sunrise Bellmore Corp.
Hartplace Realty, Inc.
Capri Holding Corp.
Benevento Holding Corp.
122-05 Merrick Corp.
1676 Flatbush Realty LLC
Brescia Holding Corp.
Ancona Holding Corp.
Bari Holding Corp.
Plus Petroleum, Ltd.
Mat Mac Realty
Pisa Holding Corp.
Siena Holding Corp.
1206 Bellmore Avenue Realty Corp.
1303 Webster Avenue Realty LLC
Cosenza Holding Corp.
Joseph Macchia, Jr.
Facilities Covered by the Consent Judgment:
644 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
586 South Conduit Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
784 Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
2800 Sunrise Highway, Bellmore, New York
2425 Merrick Road, Bellmore, New York
243-02 South Conduit Avenue, Rosedale, New York
253 Elmont Road, Elmont, New York
122-05 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, New York
169 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
1676 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
1525 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
402 Rosevale Avenue, Ronkonkoma, New York
4090 Boston Road, Bronx, New York
1463 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
117-01 Springfield Boulevard, Cambria Heights, New York
175 Targee Street, Staten Island, New York
81-02 Atlantic Avenue, Ozone Park, New York
153-17 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, New York
327 Hamilton Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
34-51 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, New York
184-17 Horace Harding Boulevard., Flushing, New York
1206 Bellmore Avenue, Bellmore, New York
1303 Webster Avenue, Bronx, New York
9702 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
975 Hicksville Road, North Massapequa, New York
2161 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York
166-15 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh Meadows, New York
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