WASHINGTON and SILVER SPRING, Md. -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited the U.S. Army for violating federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations at the Army's Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. and the Center's Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Md.
EPA seeks a total penalty of $94,101 for alleged violations of federal regulations designed to prevent, detect, and control leaks of petroleum and other hazardous materials from underground tanks.
EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe said EPA, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the D.C. Environmental Health Administration officials are committed to enforce compliance with UST regulations. "Leaking underground tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. We have to enforce compliance with UST regulations now, or face costly cleanups later," McCabe said.
The June 30 administrative complaints alleged violations involving five diesel fuel tanks at Walter Reed's main hospital facility in D.C., and four diesel fuel tanks at the Forest Glen Annex. These tanks range in capacity from 2,000 to 10,000 gallons.
In the D.C. case, EPA seeks a $57,376 penalty for the Army's alleged violation of District of Columbia regulations requiring UST owners to permanently close or remove their tanks within 12 months after the tanks are taken out of service. EPA alleges that the five USTs at Walter Reed were last used around December 1993. However, the 3,000 gallon tank was not removed until August 1995, a 2,000 gallon and a 6,000 gallon tank were removed in August 1996, and two 10,000 gallon tanks were not removed until January 1997.
In the Maryland case, EPA seeks a $36,725 penalty for the Army's alleged failure to use corrosion-protected steel piping in one 2,000 gallon tank and to comply with proper leak detection procedures in two 10,000 gallon tanks. For another tank, of unknown capacity, the Army allegedly violated a Maryland rule requiring USTs to be closed or brought up to federal standards within six months of being taken out of service.
The Army has a right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.
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