2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 10:06:52 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Largest-Ever Underground Storage Tank Penalty Proposed Against Ft.
US EPA Region 10


Largest-Ever Underground Storage Tank Penalty Proposed Against Ft. Lewis
September 18, 2000 - - - - - - - - - - - - 00-52

The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed a enalty of $469,661
against the U.S. Army's Fort Lewis rmy Installation for violations of
federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations. The penalty -- which is
he largest UST penalty ever proposed for a U.S. defense installation -- is
part of an administrative complaint and compliance order issued today by
the Regional office of the EPA. Specific violations outlined in the
complaint involve 32 f 62 regulated UST systems on the base, with 10 of the
systems having more than one violation. The violations were discovered and
shared with base personnel during acility inspections in January of 1994
and September of 1999. The Washington Department of Ecology participated in
the 1999 inspection.

Most drinking water in the Fort Lewis area comes from relatively shallow
groundwater sources which are particularly vulnerable to contamination. EPA
found numerous UST violations, including leak detection problems, at the
Fort Lewis Logistics Center which is within one mile of Sequalitchew
Springs, one of several drinking-water sources on or near the Fort. 

According to Chuck Findley, Acting EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle,
today's enforcement action at Ft. Lewis should send a clear message that
EPA is serious in its commitment to preventing the often irrevocable
contamination of aquifers that many families depend on for drinking water. 

"Anyone who lives on or near a U.S. Army base should expect the same
environmental safeguards that everyone else enjoys," said EPA's Findley.
"Many of the violations at Ft. Lewis involved inoperative or malfunctioning
leak detection equipment. Base personnel have had 10 years to upgrade their
facilities and know that leak detection is our first line of defense in
protecting the purity of our groundwater and safeguarding the public from
potentially dangerous leaks of gasoline." 

Today's complaint and order requires Fort Lewis to bring its USTs into
compliance with the State of Washington's EPA-approved UST regulations. The
complaint also assesses a penalty to encourage timely resolution of the
violations, to support fair and equitable treatment of the regulated
community and to deter Federal agencies and others from future violations.
The 1999 Fort Lewis inspection was part of a national Federal facilities
UST inspection initiative to determine whether Federal facilities are
complying with UST requirements. 

"We hold the Army to the same standards as everyone else," said Tim Hamlin,
manager of EPA's Groundwater Protection Unit. "That's what today's action
is intended to do. It's really a matter of equal treatment under our laws." 

Today's complaint and proposed penalty is the second action by the EPA's
Office of Water against Fort Lewis this year. In May, the Army agreed to
upgrade its wastewater facilties which were dumping oil and grease-laden
wastewater into Puget Sound.

The Army now has 30 days to respond to the complaint and request a
settlement conference. The compliance order is effective immediately. 

                                 # # #
Unit: Office of Water 
Point of contact: Tim Hamlin
E-Mail: hamlin.tim@epamail.epa.gov
Phone Number: (206) 553-1563
Last Updated: 09/19/2000

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