Dozens of Long Island facilities have been charged with failing to adhere to federal EPA regulations regarding environmentally unsafe underground storage tanks.
Federal prosecutors filed an injunction this week against Nassau County for alleged environmental violations at 48 different facilities that will require them to install equipment to assure adequate leak detection across all county facilities.
The settlement also requires Nassau to pay a civil penalty of $427,500.
U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said that following a 30-day public comment period, the United States will review any comments and, if necessary, request the District Court to enter and approve a Consent Judgment.
Ducharme said the EPA filed a complaint against the county alleging that it failed to comply with safety requirements between 2008 and 2010, and then proceeded to continue violating regulations regarding underground storage tanks that could potentially leak.
The complaint alleged that from 2012 to 2017, Nassau failed to:
- Conduct pip tightness at 12 facilities;
- Upgrade or close a steel tank at one facility;
- Add secondary containment of hazardous substances at two facilities;
- Install release detection equipment at 17 facilities;
- Install release detection equipment at 11 emergency generator facilities;
- Install overfill prevention at 12 facilities;
- Permanently close a tank that had been forced to temporarily close.
“The United States is pleased to announce this settlement with Nassau County that will help protect the health and safety of county residents and our groundwater, which may be jeopardized when underground storage tanks are not properly monitored,” DuCharme said.
“The settlement enforces the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s underground storage tank regulations at Nassau’s facilities, which are critical to mitigate the risk of spills and leaks.”
The settlement will require Nassau County to fully comply with all regulations and to adhere to each of the complaints that were filed in recent years. The settlement also requires Nassau to install and operate a centralized monitoring system, which will enable Nassau to centrally monitor its underground storage tanks so that it can promptly detect and respond to any leaks or spills across its facilities.
“Nassau County and EPA have worked out an agreement that will help ensure that underground storage tanks will be properly monitored and regulated to protect human health and the environment,” EPA Regional Administrator Peter Lopez added.
“The judicial settlement requires the county to take multiple steps including implementing a centralized monitoring system. This judicial action settles the county’s non-compliance with a prior administrative settlement. Nassau County has cooperated with EPA and is now taking action to protect the integrity of the aquifer that provides drinking water to the county’s residents.”
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