United States Files Suit Against Fifteen Corporations And Two Individuals For Violating Federal Leak Prevention Requirements At Four Long Island Gas Stations
Defendants Allegedly Have A Long History Of Failing To Comply With EPA Regulations And Have Put Long Island Groundwater At Risk Of Contamination
Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Region 2, today announced the filing of a federal civil environmental complaint against two individuals, Nedjet Yetim and Rachelann Yetim, and 15 related corporate entities for violations of the federal leak prevention requirements for underground storage tanks at four gas stations on Long Island. The violations alleged in the complaint involve underground storage tanks, which typically contain large quantities of gasoline and waste oil and can cause serious environmental damage if allowed to leak.
“As alleged, these defendants ignored their obligations under federal law to safeguard the public from gasoline and waste oil leaks at their underground storage tanks. These violations demonstrate a serious and longstanding disregard for the environment, for the health and safety of their employees, and for the health and safety of residents of Long Island,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are committed to vigorous enforcement of the laws protecting the environment from hazardous wastes.”
EPA’s Regional Administrator Enck added, “The public should be assured that EPA will not stand idly by while owners and operators of underground storage tanks engage in practices that endanger public health and safety. We will continue to pursue prosecution of these and other violators to the full extent of the law.”
The Yetims are alleged to be principals of several of the named corporate entities and to have personally managed, directed, or conducted matters related to pollution and environmental compliance at the facilities. The corporate defendants, all of which are directly related to the individual defendants or were tenants at the relevant facilities, owned and/or operated the gas stations during the periods of the violations alleged in the complaint.
The complaint alleges there were releases from the tanks at all four facilities, each of which is located above a federally-designated Sole Source Aquifer. Among other criteria, a Sole Source Aquifer is an aquifer that supplies 50% of the drinking water consumed within the Sole Source Aquifer’s boundaries. The Sole Source Aquifer designation is a tool to protect drinking water supplies in areas with few or no alternative sources to the groundwater resources, and where, if contamination occurred, using an alternative source would be extremely expensive. The violations alleged in the complaint do not pose an immediate threat to the drinking water of the area’s residents. However, defendants’ compliance with the federal leak prevention requirements for underground storage tanks is vital to ensure the integrity of tanks and prevent the release of petroleum product to soil and groundwater.
According to the complaint, the defendants, as owners and/or operators of the underground storage tanks at the gas stations, have repeatedly failed to comply with numerous federal requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), including failure to (a) install and operate corrosion protection on the piping systems, (b) implement adequate release detection on the tanks and piping systems, (c) install and operate overfill prevention systems, (d) perform testing of automatic line leak detectors (“ALLDs”) for underground piping, (e) conduct required testing of corrosion protection systems, (f) maintain records regarding release detection, (g) properly cap and secure a temporarily-closed tank, and (h) cooperate with the EPA by responding to the EPA’s requests for information about the underground storage tanks that they owned and/or operated. In its complaint, the government seeks injunctive relief requiring the defendants to comply with all applicable requirements of RCRA, as well as monetary penalties of up to $16,000 per tank for each day of violation.
In enacting Subtitle I of RCRA, Congress declared it to be the 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 regulations protect the public from releases from underground storage systems, which typically contain petroleum products, usually waste oils and gasoline. Failure to maintain the underground storage tanks that contain petroleum can result in leaks of gasoline and waste oil, which, in turn, can contaminate groundwater.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth M. Abell, with the assistance of Karen Taylor, Assistant Regional Counsel, EPA.
Residence: Patchogue, NY
Residence: Floral Park, NY
Fast Gasoline, Inc.
Black Realty, Inc.
Hempstead Gasoline Station, Inc.
Elmont Gasoline Corp.
102 Elmont Realty Corp.
TAG Gasoline, Inc.
Target Petroleum, Inc.
Liberty Petroleum, Inc., (d/b/a as Liberty Petroleum – RGV Petroleum, Inc.)
ASLI & Gizem Realty Corp.
NGRV Realty Co., Inc.
Venus Bukey Realty, Inc.
S&B Petroleum, Inc.
Gizem Realty Corp.
PDE Island Park, Inc.
T-Maxx @ Petro Gas, Inc
653 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont NY
1278 Hempstead Turnpike Elmont, NY
725 Wyandanch Avenue North Babylon, NY
4305 Austin Boulevard, Island Park, NY