Ohio company penalized for 20-year-old gas leak

The owners of a gas station in Waldo, Ohio, have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $161,550 for a petroleum leak that took place more than 20 years ago. According to Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations, the Waldo Duchess gas station will also “conduct the necessary corrective actions and cleanup” to resolve the complaint.

According to the Attorney General, the gas station owners removed seven underground storage tanks from the property in December 1988. The state conducted an inspection at the time and found that petroleum had been released into the surrounding land and water. Whether the leak had occurred during the tank removal or before it was unclear, but the company failed to take the necessary corrective actions and filed deficient reports to the state.

Because the company failed to clean the contaminated site, it could have compromised the health and safety of the residents in this small north central Ohio community.

“For two decades the defendants in this case have refused to fully investigate and correct the problems on this site caused by the release of petroleum,” Cordray said. “This agreement takes the much-needed step forward toward resolving the environmental problems and protecting the health of nearby residents.”

Englefield Oil Co., the parent company of the Waldo Duchess station, refused full responsibility in the matter. “The principle activities resulting in the lawsuit occurred more than a decade ago and relate to the allegedly late or deficient submission of reports by our consultants,” Englefield spokesman Terry Swartz told the Convenience Store / Petroleum News.

“This property was acquired with the environmental issues unknown at the time of the purchase. Englefield Oil and its consultant do not believe the site at issue has caused any off-site environmental concern,” Swarz said.

Englefield Oil operates more than 150 locations containing underground storage tanks. Swarz said that the company “has always taken its environmental responsibility seriously and regrets that this action has occurred.”