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Release Date: 07/18/1997
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston -- Following a month-long national enforcement sweep, EPA announced a total of more than 10,050 inspections across the country aimed at identifying and correcting problems at underground storage tanks. The agency found 3,192 violations, nationally, during the May initiative. In New England, 328 inspections were conducted by federal and state environmental officials, yielding 130 enforcement actions to correct problems with the underground tanks. By December 1998, all tanks must meet state and federal laws that require corrosion protection, spill containment, and overfill protection to safeguard the environment and public health. Over the past nine years, more than 320,000 leaks have been confirmed, 60% of which were leaks to groundwater, from underground storage tanks.

"Only 18 months remain for tank owners to close, replace, or upgrade leak-prone bare steel tanks," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator. "EPA Administrator Carol Browner announced in May that the 1998 deadline will not be extended."

The largest case in New England was brought against the town of Weymouth, Massachusetts, for a number of violations of federal and state environmental laws on the handling of underground storage tanks. In September of last year, EPA issued the town a field citation of $300 for not monitoring one of its underground storage tanks for releases. EPA then requested additional information about all the tanks owned by Weymouth, but the town never responded.

Inspectors from EPA's Underground Storage Tank Program visited each of the town's facilities where there are underground tanks. Numerous deficiencies were noted that included failing to conduct leak detection, failing to register an underground tank with the state, failing to install spill containment and overfill prevention equipment and failing to close a tank system that has been out of service for longer than six months. Violations involved 11 tanks at eight facilities, including fire, school, police, and public works departments.

The town faces a $151, 793 fine for the violations found.

"Our New England communities have an equal if not higher obligation than private companies to live by the environmental laws of this country," said DeVillars. "Weymouth, perched within the sensitive groundwater area of the South Coastal Basin, needs to be vigilant in its efforts to see that their own actions do not harm the ecosystem. The environmental risks posed by a leaking underground tank are real. A management program set up ahead of time, can go far in preventing disaster."

EPA issued 16 field citations during the enforcement sweep which went to 6 state and local agencies, 7 retail stores, a golf course, car dealership, and construction firm. A list follows:

Laurel View Golf Course, Hamden, CT; $300 field citation
J.G. Bielecki Sevice Station/Garage, 977 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT; $300 field citation
Hollywood Service Inc., 342 E. Center Street, Manchester, CT; $300 field citation
Carter Chevrolet Co, Inc., 1229 Main Street Manchester, CT; $300 field citation
Carl's Garage, 45 School Street, Glastonbury, CT; $300 field citation

Boston DOT, S. Hampton Street, Boston, MA; $600 field citation
Boston DPW-District 4, 315 Western Avenue, Boston, MA; $800 field citation
Town of Lincoln DPW, Lewis St., Lincoln, MA; $100 field citation

J & S Grocery, Route 4 & Grammar Road, Sanford, ME; $700 field citation
Morgan's Mobil, Rte 202, Greene, ME; $100 field citation
Frisbee's Super Market, Pepperell Rd., Kittery Point, ME; $900 field citation
ME Youth Center (Dept. of Corrections) 675 Westbrook St, S. Portland, ME; $600 field citation
Greater Portland Transit District, 114 Valley St., Portland, ME; $600 field citation The Town Store, Rte 9, Eddington, ME; $300 field citation
Town of Windham DPW, Windham Center Rd.., Windham, ME; $600 field citation
Shaw Construction Co., PO Box 69, 511 Main St, Gorham, ME; $400 field citation