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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP ISSUES PENALTIES FOR UNDERGROUND STORAGE
TANK VIOLATIONS IN MIDDLETOWN

(04/103) TRENTON -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that Woroco Management, located in Perth Amboy, and the Mogas Service Station in Middletown Township were fined for violating state hazardous materials storage law.

"Protecting our water from storage tank leaks is critical to water quality and public health," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "A single gallon of gasoline can render undrinkable one million gallons of drinking water in our aquifers. This enforcement action holds accountable those who disregard laws that safeguard our natural resources."

Mogas Service Station, a gasoline and diesel retail facility, failed to register four regulated underground storage tanks, provide evidence of insurance for the tanks, and equip the tank systems with a means to detect releases and leaks.

Failure to register tanks inhibits DEP's ability to regulate underground storage, prevent pollution and reduce leaks and contamination. DEP banned the delivery of fuel to the site and issued a $56,000 penalty to the owner of Mogas Service Station after he refused to comply with the delivery ban and other corrective provisions.

Woroco Management, a motor fuel wholesale and delivery business, was fined $15,000 for delivering motor fuel to Mogas Service Station. State law prohibits the filling of unregistered, regulated underground storage tanks with motor fuel.

The Middletown enforcement action is part of a statewide underground storage tank compliance inspection program to prevent pollution by reducing the number of leaking tanks. DEP is establishing a group of 18 state and county inspectors to conduct compliance inspections every three years at each of the state's 8,000 facilities that contain regulated underground storage tanks.

"DEP's new comprehensive inspection program will help crack down on violations of underground storage laws such as those found at Middletown's Mogas Service Station," said Commissioner Campbell. "I commend New Jersey voters for supporting Governor McGreevey's 2003 referendum, which funded the underground storage tank inspection program."

Owners and operators of underground storage tanks also must register their tank systems with DEP on a three-year cycle. Testing and cleanup work is underway by responsible parties at more than 4,000 sites statewide where underground storage tanks have leaked resulting in soil or ground water contamination.

DEP provides compliance assistance to owners and operators of facilities with underground storage tank systems. State and federal laws require all owners and operators to maintain leak detection, corrosion and overfill prevention and other measures to prevent tank leaks. DEP also will track all inspections and enforcement actions taken when responsible parties fail to comply with relevant laws.

NOTE: Copies of the DEP Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessments issued to Woroco Management and the Mogas Service Station are available upon request.

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