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Owner Of 30 Area Gas Stations Charged With Tank Mismanagement At 3 Bronx Stations; EPA: Six Gasoline and Waste Oil Systems Lacked Reliable Leak Data

Release Date: 03/17/1999
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(#99039) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has charged Leemilt's Petroleum, Inc., the Jericho, Long Island - based operator of approximately 30 gas stations in the New York metropolitan area, with mismanaging its underground storage tank (UST) systems at three Getty gas stations in the Bronx, and posing a threat to the environment.

According to EPA, Leemilt's could not show that underground storage tank systems at its Getty stations at 1810 Cross Bronx Expressway, 1340 Bruckner Boulevard and 1720 Boone Avenue in the Bronx, were properly tested for gasoline and oil leaks as EPA requires. EPA is charging that the company's earliest violations of tank management regulations date back to 1994.

"The substances stored in these underground tanks are toxic to the environment," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "Since leaks and releases from such tanks often go unnoticed by observers at ground level, regular and thorough leak detection tests are an absolute necessity. In this case, the company's inability to prove that it performed regular and reliable tests could mean a threat to the environment and to residents living near the stations."

Underground storage tanks are regulated by EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976. USTs range in capacity from a few hundred to 50,000 or more gallons, and are used to store gasoline, heating oil and other fuels, waste oil and hazardous substances at gas stations, marinas, government facilities and large industrial sites.

USTs are the nation's number-one source of groundwater contamination, with over 30,000 leaks and spills from tanks reported annually. A spill of one gallon of gasoline can render one million gallons of water undrinkable. Leaks from USTs can also contaminate the soil around the tanks, and can cause unhealthy gasoline vapors to settle into the basements of private homes and apartment buildings. Since USTs are buried several feet underground, spills and releases into the soil and into the groundwater table are often invisible to people standing at ground level. To insure that releases are quickly detected, RCRA requires all owners and operators to perform monthly tests on their tanks to check for leaks. RCRA also requires owners and operators to keep thorough records of these tests and of any work done on the tanks.

EPA's case against Leemilt's also includes a charge that the company mismanaged tanks at another gas station in upstate New York. EPA will seek a penalty of $49,366 in the case.

For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: