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Release Date: 8/4/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA (415) 744-1578

     (San Francisco)-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) have cited three Kauai fuel facilities for violations of underground storage tank rules and warned other fuel tank owners they face stiff penalties if they do not act to meet tougher federal regulations by December 22, 1998.

     U.S. EPA and HDOH fined the Waimea Service Station in Waimea, and Kauai Petroleum in Lihue, $900 penalties each, and Hawaii Helicopters in Princeville, $1,050. The citations resulted from recent joint inspections by U.S. EPA and HDOH.

     Julie Anderson, director of U.S. EPA's western regional office Waste Management Division, said, "The approaching deadline for meeting leak prevention standards was set in 1988. However, many underground fuel tank owners and operators remain in denial about the need to line up a contractor to replace or upgrade their tanks.  If everyone waits until October or November, there won't be enough qualified contractors available to do the work and non-complying tank owners will have to shut down their tanks on December 22."

     Federal law requires the upgrading or replacement of underground tanks more than 10 years old to protect against leaks and spills. After the deadline, owners of uncorrected tanks face penalties of up to $11,000 a day per tank in addition to cleanup costs if their tanks have leaked.

     Leak prevention is critical for underground fuel tanks because unseen leaks caused by corrosion, overfills or spills can pollute underground water supplies.  A hole the size of a pin can release 400 gallons of fuel in a year's time, enough to foul millions of gallons of fresh water. Given the limited amount of fresh surface water in Hawaii, the protection of underground water sources is vital.

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