Montpelier, Vt. – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that Peter and Robin Klein of Rye Brook, New York were fined $22,500 for releasing hazardous heating oil to the environment from a derelict underground storage tank on a property in Dover, Vermont, and for failing to take emergency clean-up action upon discovery of the release in 2016.
Many single and multi-family residences in Vermont use underground storage tanks (USTs) to store home heating fuel. Heating fuel is a hazardous material that, when released to the environment, can contaminate drinking water or surface water, release odors that affect residents, and impact home values. The Agency’s investigation into this matter revealed that before switching to propane in 1986, the Kleins used an underground storage tank to hold home heating oil to serve a condominium on their Dover property. Upon switching, the UST was capped but not sealed, and the cap subsequently failed, allowing water to run into the tank and displace old oil. This caused the oil to surface onto the ground and enter a nearby stream. DEC’s closure guidelines include pumping all remaining contents from and permanently sealing the tank, as well as soil testing to check for tank leaks.
“All property owners, commercial and residential, are responsible for meeting regulatory requirements to protect human health and natural resources on lands under their ownership,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “DEC’s expert staff stand ready to advise property owners on appropriate, cost-effective and proactive measures, such as UST decommissioning, to address and prevent contamination of this kind.”
During cleanup of the Klein property, oil contamination was found under the condominium’s concrete slab, around the property, and in the nearby stream. Air filtration was employed inside the building to mitigate high vapor levels from the release. The Kleins removed the UST, completed cleanup actions at the property, and agreed to a $22,500 penalty for the violations. The agreement was reflected in a November 20, 2019 order of the Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division.
For more information about DEC’s Waste Management and Prevention Division, including financial assistance information for residential heating oil tank removal/replacement, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/storage-tanks.