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Raceway Settles with EPA on Tank Charges; Will Spend $111,000 to Improve 12 N.J. Gas Stations
Release Date: 08/22/2001
|(#01106) New York, N.Y. -- Raceway Petroleum Inc. and 15 related companies have settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) on charges of underground storage tank (UST) mismanagement at several Raceway gas stations in New Jersey. EPA had issued two complaints against Raceway and affiliated companies, charging that they did not follow federal regulations when it came to regularly testing tanks at their gas stations for leaks and closing out-of-service tanks. The companies and the agency have reached a settlement in which the companies committed to comply with all applicable regulations and to make additional environmental improvements not required by regulation to 12 gas stations. The companies will also make a $30,000 payment.
"We are pleased that this case has been settled and that Raceway gas stations in New Jersey will be upgraded to better protect the environment and the health of local residents," said William J. Muszynski, Acting Regional Administrator. "Leaking underground storage tanks are the nation's number-one source of groundwater contamination, and it is imperative that tank owners and operators follow our regulations to the letter. With this settlement, the companies have agreed to strictly adhere to all environmental regulations from now on and will install advanced tank leak detection systems to better protect their local environment."
In October 2000, EPA filed two complaints against Raceway Petroleum and several of the companies associated with Raceway (the "respondents") for UST violations at gas stations in Bordentown, Green Brook, Old Bridge, Parlin, Highland Park and Toms River. EPA had charged the respondents with nine counts of tank mismanagement including: failing to provide a reliable and acceptable method for detecting leaks; failing to properly close unused USTs; and failing to assess the soil around the unused waste oil tanks to determine whether they ever released their product. These actions allegedly violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law regulating USTs. EPA also believed that several of the other Raceway gas stations not included in the complaints had similar tank violations. In settling with EPA, the respondents have not admitted liability.
The respondents have agreed to undertake a supplemental environmental project, or SEP, made possible by an EPA penalty policy that gives companies settling charges the option to do projects that will benefit human health and the environment. Raceway will install and properly maintain advanced automated systems for detecting leaks -- "Automatic Tank Gauging" systems -- at Raceways in Parlin, Millstone, Bordentown and Toms River, where less-reliable methods are currently used. The systems will constantly monitor the levels of product in the tanks, and if a release is detected, will automatically inform Raceway's central office in Piscataway via fax modem. The companies will also install fax modems for immediate leak detection results and alarms at eight other Raceway stations that already have Automatic Tank Gauging systems in place. The cost of this supplemental environmental project will be at least $111,350, and the respondents will submit regular progress reports to EPA and show proof -- including receipts of itemized costs -- that the work was properly done.
They will also pay $30,000 to the U.S. Treasury, and will properly close out-of-service tanks and assess the soil around any USTs that have not been used for over 12 months, including tanks at Raceway gas stations in Old Bridge, Franklin Park and East Brunswick. The results of the assessments must be given to EPA. The companies also agreed to submit to EPA copies of records showing leak detection test results for all stations for June, July and August 2001.