Environmental

Maryland county settles UST violations with EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with the Frederick County, Maryland, board of county commissioners over multiple violations of federal underground storage tank regulations. According to the EPA, Frederick County owns and operates three underground storage tanks, yet it failed to uphold federal regulations and safety measures designed to protect the land and water from becoming contaminated by substances released from underground tanks.

The County agreed to pay penalties of $4,600 for failing to maintain release detection records on three tanks between March and December 2007. The EPA also found that the county never performed automatic leak detection tests on two of the underground tanks between 2004 and 2007. Additionally, the EPA charged that county didn’t perform required line tightness testing on two of the underground storage tanks for 7 months in 2006 and 2007.

As part of its settlement with the EPA, Frederick County also agreed to install a $22,500 leak monitoring system on its above-ground tanks. According to the EPA, Frederick County will install the automatic tank monitoring system on one 12,000-gallon tank and 2 6,000-gallon tanks. The monitoring system will tie into a dedicated computer with software designed to track any fuel releases. Reliable monitoring of tanks, whether above ground or underground, leads to quicker and more efficient responses in the event of an accidental leak.

According to the EPA, the county “neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but certified its compliance with applicable UST regulations. The settlement reflects the county’s cooperation with EPA’s investigation, and good faith compliance efforts.”

“With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products stored in USTs throughout the U.S., leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination,” the EPA said in a statement about the settlement.

“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,” the agency said.