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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/18/03
03/14

 

Contact: Amy Cradic,
609-984-1795

DEP Obtains Court Order to Cease Operations at Local Gas Station:
Owner Fails to Address Environmental and Safety Concerns

(03/14) Trenton— The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the Superior Court of New Jersey on February 13 granted a temporary restraining order requiring AB Trading Enterprises to immediately shut down their gasoline service station in Wayne Township, Passaic County, for significant underground storage tank violations.

"We asked the court to take immediate precautionary action and shut down the service station to protect residents and to help us ensure that its operations pose no environmental or public health threat," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "AB Trading Enterprises' continued failure to heed DEP directives could result in greater harm to the state's groundwater and soil, and compromise public safety."

Before resuming operations, AB Trading must fulfill the following court mandates: determine whether or not its underground storage tanks are coated and/or lined; verify that all tanks and lines are protected against corrosion; submit a schedule with dates to address all environmental issues, including surface spills and groundwater and contaminated soil issues; verify that all overfill equipment is in working order; and test the integrity of all tank system lines.

A second court date to review AB Trading's progress in addressing the court mandates is set for Friday, February 21 in State Superior Court, Passaic County.

The DEP first issued AB Trading Enterprise a Notice of Violation (NOV) on December 4, 2002 that imposed a delivery ban on all four underground storage tanks and a cease use directive for the two regular unleaded grade underground storage tanks at AB Trading's Wayne Township service station.

On December 10, 2002, the DEP received test results taken from four tanks at the service station that revealed that three of the four tanks at the site and all product piping failed to meet the DEP's corrosion protection criteria. During an on-site follow-up inspection on December 17, DEP learned that AB Trading Enterprises ignored the delivery ban and cease use directive and the service station remained in full operation.

Information from the gas station's onsite Automatic Tank Gauging (ATG) control panel revealed that, at minimum, the service station accepted deliveries of gasoline on December 5,7, 8, 10, 11, 14, and 15.

During the December 17, 2002 inspection, the ATG, which can be used to monitor tank product levels and perform leak detection tests, also revealed gasoline tank overfills at the service station on October 26, November 19, 20 and 27, December 2, 8 and 15, 2002.

Responding to AB Trading's disregard of the delivery and operations ban, Deputy Attorney General Anna Lascurain, the lawyer handling this matter in court, said, "Restraints were necessary in this case. This business operated in a way that demonstrated a total disregard of human health and the environment."

The DEP inspection of the facility was initiated by a citizen's complaint alleging that "contaminated" gasoline was purchased at the AB Trading Service Station and that their vehicle was damaged. Responding to the complaint, DEP enforcement officers inspected the service station and detected the presence of volatile organic vapors and gasoline odors in two ground water monitoring wells, indicating that there had been a discharge of hazardous substances to the soil and/or ground water. The inspection also revealed the presence of approximately 1.5 inches of gasoline in a submerged sump located at the regular unleaded grade tanks, indicating a possible ongoing discharge of petroleum products into the environment.

On behalf of the DEP, the Office of the Attorney General filed the Verified Complaint and Order to Show Cause With Temporary Restraints in Superior Court. In addition to the cease use and delivery ban and remedial actions, the Complaint seeks an order awarding the DEP its costs and fees in taking this action and maximum statutory penalties (not to exceed $50,000 per day) pursuant to the Underground Storage Tank Act and the Spill Compensation and Control Act.

The Spill Compensation and Control Act prohibits the discharge of a hazardous substance except in compliance with a state or federal permit. The Underground Storage Tank Act specifically addresses the substantial threat to the environment and the public health, safety and welfare posed by the discharge of petroleum products and other hazardous substances from underground storage tanks.

Leakage of hazardous substances is among the most common causes of ground water pollution in New Jersey.

 

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