EPA on Monday said fuel retailer Wawa Inc., telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. and five smaller firms have agreed to pay fines related to alleged violations of federal rules governing the operation and maintenance of underground petroleum storage tanks.

Under four separate enforcement agreements, the companies also promised to review their compliance programs to make sure they adhere to the agency's regulations.

EPA said improperly operated or maintained USTs can leak petroleum and other hazardous substances, threatening soil and water quality. EPA said in a news release that Wawa settled with the agency for violating federal regulations on USTs containing gasoline or diesel fuel.

The agency said that based on inspections in February and March 2022, it "determined the company had failed to meet operator training, record keeping, and leak detection requirements for USTs."

Wawa, which operates more than 1,000 retail fuel and convenience stores along the East Coast, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $26,500 and "certify its compliance with UST regulations at its facilities," EPA said.

In addition, EPA said AT&T Transoceanic Comm. LLC, which owns and operates UST for emergency power generators at 28 facilities in New York, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands, "violated federal rules on spill prevention, inspections, and operator training at three of its facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which EPA inspected in 2022."

AT&T agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty and "conduct a comprehensive audit of its compliance with all UST rules at its New York and New Jersey facilities," the agency said.

EPA also announced similar settlements with five other companies, which operate 24 gas stations in New York and New Jersey, for violating federal regulations on USTs containing gasoline or diesel. Those fines totaled $225,000.

According to EPA, about 542,000 underground storage tanks nationwide store petroleum or hazardous substances. While the agency said the greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater, a source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans, leaks also increase the risk of fire and explosions.

Until the mid-1980s, most USTs were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time and allow UST contents to leak into the environment, the agency said. Faulty installation or inadequate operating and maintenance procedures also can cause USTs to leak, it said.


This content was created by Oil Price Information Service, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. OPIS is run independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


--Reporting by Frank Tang, ftang@opisnet.com; Editing by Jeff Barber, jbarber@opisnet.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2023 15:29 ET (19:29 GMT)

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