Super Soda Center Store Owners Settle Storage Tank Case for $2 Million

The United States has settled alleged violations of federal and state underground storage tank regulations at 17 gas stations in Delaware and Maryland formerly owned by Duncan Petroleum Corp.

The case stems from the alleged failure of Robert M. Duncan and Duncan Petroleum Corp., owners of Super Soda Center Stores, to comply with the regulations governing underground storage tanks at Duncan’s 17 gas stations in the two states and for failing to perform compliance tasks under a 2006 Consent Agreement. Duncan had agreed to complete the tasks in order to bring five of the Maryland gas stations into compliance with the underground storage tank regulations.

According to the Department of Justice, Duncan will pay a $2 million penalty for these violations on or before Dec. 15, 2010, plus interest that began accruing on August 2, the date the Stipulation and Order was filed with the court.

The civil judicial complaint was filed on Dec. 17, 2008, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act alleging violations of Delaware and Maryland underground storage tank (UST) regulations requiring that owners and operators of petroleum UST systems: 1) provide release detection for underground storage tanks; 2) provide release detection for underground piping; 3) provide and annually test line leak detectors; 4) provide overfill protection; 5) investigate and report suspected releases; 6) provide and test cathodic protection systems; 7) inspect impressed current protection systems; and 8) maintain corrosion protection on out-of-service UST systems. According to DOJ, the company failed to comply with one or more of these requirements at each of the facilities.

"These defendants violated their obligation to bring several large underground storage tanks into compliance with the law," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The precedent-setting $2 million civil penalty that they will pay in this settlement is appropriate in light of the unacceptable risk created by their misconduct."

The eight Delaware gas stations were located in Seaford, Bridgeville, Rehoboth, Dover, and Camden. In Maryland, there were nine locations in Salisbury, Snow Hill, Cambridge, Chestertown, Easton, Federalsburg, and Preston.

"By refusing to comply with the terms of the consent decree defendants endangered the lives of citizens of Delaware and Maryland," said David C. Weiss, U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware. "This settlement holds defendants accountable and demonstrates that such misconduct will not be tolerated."

With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil and other petroleum products stored in underground storage tanks throughout the U.S., leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. EPA and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks which do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.

For more information on EPA’s underground storage tank program, visit www.epa.gov/swerust1/.

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