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EPA Settles With Texaco Caribbean on Federal UST Rules; Violations at Seven Gas Stations in the USVI

Release Date: 03/15/2006
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an agreement with Texaco Caribbean that addresses the company’s violations at seven gasoline stations in the U.S. Virgin Islands of federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations that require continuous leak detection systems and corrosion protection. In addition to paying a $30,000 penalty and correcting the violations, Texaco Caribbean has agreed to spend at least $112,500 on environmental assessments at no fewer than six idle sites in Puerto Rico, commonly known as brownfields. These sites were not previously owned or operated by the company. Under the agreement, Texaco Caribbean committed to complete the site assessments within eighteen months. The final assessments will be used to determine the redevelopment potential of the sites.

“The fragile ecology of the Virgin Islands requires vigilance against spills of petroleum into the ground water, where even a minor release can cause major damage,” EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg said. “Leak detection systems and corrosion protection help minimize the harm a gasoline spill can cause to the environment and public health.”

EPA found the violations on St. Thomas at the Intercar Service Station on Harwood Highway, the Polliberg Service Station on Dronn Gade, the Tutu Service Station on Anna’s Retreat No. 1, the Hometown Service Station on Anna’s Retreat, the Veteran’s Service Station on Veteran’s Drive and the Smith’s Bay Service Station on Smithbay Road. EPA also found similar violations at the St. John’s Service Station at Cruz Bay on St. John.

Texaco Caribbean agreed to undertake the site assessments in Puerto Rico under EPA’s Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) Policy through which a violator of EPA regulations can offset part of a proposed penalty by conducting projects that the agency deems would benefit the environment. The agreed upon SEP, under the agreement, will be conducted in Puerto Rico rather than the Virgin Islands because of logistical and operational advantages in doing the work there. The locations at which the environmental site assessments will be performed include: Carolina, Urbanizacion Magnolia in Bayamon, San Sebastian, Arecibo, Juana Diaz and Guanica. Under the agreement, Texaco Caribbean is not responsible for cleaning up any contamination that may be found at the sites or redeveloping them.