PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 15, 2014) — Howard County, Maryland, has agreed to pay a $9,727 penalty to settle alleged violations of underground storage tank (UST) regulations at two facilities in Columbia, Md., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

EPA cited the county for not complying with safeguards designed to prevent, detect, and control leaks of petroleum and other hazardous substances from USTs. The alleged violations involved federal and state UST regulations requiring monthly leak detection monitoring, and cathodic anti-corrosion protection.

According to EPA, a 1,000-gallon UST containing used oil, located at the Bureau of Utilities at 8250 Old Montgomery Rd., was not regularly monitored for leaks for three and a half years. Also, the county failed to provide cathodic protection for piping to a 2,500 gallon UST containing diesel fuel, located at Long Reach Fire Station #9 on 5950 Tamar Drive.

With millions of gallons of petroleum products and hazardous substances stored in USTs 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 thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.

The settlement penalty reflects the Howard County’s cooperation with EPA in correcting the alleged non-compliance and resolving this matter. As part of the settlement, the county did not admit liability for the alleged violations.

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