Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


13 Phoenix, Ariz. underground storage tanks cited for violations

Release Date: 02/27/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248,

(San Francisco, Calif. - Feb. 27, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality fined 13 underground fuel tank owners or operators a total of $9,800 for violating underground storage tank laws in the Phoenix area.

A state inspector opens a sump pump at a gas station to check the underground storage tank for leaks. The EPA and ADEQ inspected 24 sites to increase compliance and prevent petroleum releases to the environment in the Phoenix metropolitan area. ADEQ does not have authority to issue citations.

“The EPA and ADEQ are serious about enforcing underground tank regulations,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Leak prevention is critical. Unseen leaks can pollute precious groundwater supplies-- a vital resource in Arizona.”

“ADEQ is committed to ensuring that Arizona's precious groundwater supplies are not further contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks. Tank owners and operators must comply with the law,” said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens.

Most leaks are caused by corrosion, overfills or other spills. A hole the size of a pinhead can release 400 gallons of fuel in a year's time, enough to foul millions of gallons of fresh water. The most common problem found during inspections was the failure to properly maintain and operate leak prevention and detection equipment. Facilities also failed to provide current paperwork for annual testing of tanks and piping systems, or fail to provide proof of financial liability insurance.

The following owners and/or operators were cited and fined:

    • B.J.'s Autospa, Phoenix, $1,800
    • Filling Station, Casa Grande, $450
    • Vija Truck Stop, Stanfield, $1,000
    • U.S. Postal Service, Cactus Station in Phoenix, $800
    • Two Brothers, Mesa, $650
    • Danny's Family Car Wash, Phoenix, $200
    • The Motorworks, Phoenix, $450
    • Fiesta Gas, Phoenix, $1,650
    • Happy Food Mart, Phoenix, $300
    • Hertz Rent A Car, Phoenix, $300
    • C & T Oil, Inc, Tucson, $1,300

Twelve facilities were inspected in January, where two were cited and fined:
    • Simon's Express- Fast Track, $600
    • Fuelco #104, $300

Water from the nearby car wash leaked into the sump pump, which sends gas from underground tanks to the gas pumps, corroding the pipes. Most facilities have since complied with the regulations. For facilities that do not comply, the EPA may assess fines of up to $11,000 per day per tank.

Compliance with leak prevention and leak detection requirements help ensure petroleum releases from underground storage tanks occur less frequently and that facilities are properly alerted when releases do occur. The recently passed Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires state agencies to inspect each underground storage tank every three years. The EPA plans to continue joint inspections with the state in 2006.

To prevent releases, federal law required all regulated underground storage tanks to have spill and overfill equipment, and corrosion protection in place by Dec. 22, 1998. Although the compliance date has long since passed, regulatory agencies still find violations. Releases that are detected quickly can be cleaned up faster and at a far less expense than releases that go undetected for long periods of time.