In February, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources concluded legal action against two Vermont entities that failed to perform and record monitoring of commercial underground storage tanks (USTs), as required by the Vermont Underground Storage Tank Rules.
During routine inspections in July 2018, the Agency discovered violations of the UST Rules at the Williamstown Town Garage and at Cunningham’s Full Service Station, LLC, in Canaan. An inspection of the two 2000-gallon USTs at the Williamstown Town Garage revealed that the Town was not conducting weekly leak detection monitoring or performing monthly inspections, as well as failing to maintain spill buckets free of liquid and debris. Similarly, an inspection of the four 6,000-gallon USTs at Cunningham’s Full Service Station, LLC revealed the auto business was not monitoring for leaks on a weekly basis. Neither entity was keeping record of any tank monitoring.
Vermont’s UST monitoring requirements were established in 1985 to protect human health and the environment by preventing releases from storage tank systems. USTs hold hazardous substances from gasoline and diesel fuel to used motor oil and heating oil, and accidental release of these materials into the environment threatens groundwater resources and can cause explosive vapors to seep into homes and businesses. When tank owners fail to monitor for leaks, the Agency may pursue penalties.
“Commercial UST ownership comes with the responsibility to conduct and document weekly leak detection monitoring,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “By investing a little effort each week to check for leaks, tank owners can prevent hazardous oil releases and avoid expensive clean up.”
Upon notification of the violations, both entities promptly acted to bring their operations back into compliance, and each agreed to pay a $5000 penalty for the violations. DEC’s formal agreements with the Town of Williamstown and Cunningham’s Full Service Station were confirmed and entered as Court Orders by the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court on February 5, 2019.
For more information from the Underground Storage Tanks Program at DEC, including an inspection checklist and schedule, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/storage-tanks.