City of Glendale to Pay $653,000 Penalty for Violating Underground Storage Tank Regulations

By on January 16, 2019

The Southern California city of Glendale has entered into a settlement agreement with the state of California via the State Water Resources Control Board for violating various laws and regulations governing the operation and maintenance of underground storage tanks (UST) within its jurisdiction.

The original judgement of July 30, 2014 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, was to resolve UST violations against the city that began in 2005. The alleged violations included failure to perform testing in a timely manner and failure to have a designated operator. The alleged violations also included the failure to maintain leak detection equipment at 11 UST facilities, many of which are located at fire and police stations.

Although the city paid $192,500 in civil penalties and spent $192,500 on a supplemental environmental project to research technologies for removing hexavalent chromium from groundwater, the 2014 judgement suspended an additional $615,000 in penalties provided the city comply with the UST requirements for a period of five years. Compliance inspections at nine of the city’s facilities in January 2017 identified violations including failure to perform annual line leak detection testing and failure to meet designated operator inspection requirements.

“When the city agreed to the 2014 consent judgment, it agreed to operate its tanks under a heightened standard of care. These violations show the city was careless yet again with its duty to maintain compliance at its UST facilities,” said David Boyers, assistant chief counsel with the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement.

The 2017 inspections triggered the obligation of the suspended penalties. Therefore, the city of Glendale will now pay the $615,000 in penalties plus $38,000 for reimbursement of enforcement costs. Additionally, the city is now required to engage and pay a contract consultant to serve as the Designated Operator for all city facilities. The specifics of the settlement can be found on the State Water Board’s website at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/enforcement/orders_actions.shtml.