Gas Station Law

What You Should Do if You Receive a Violation?

What Governmental Agencies Regulate Gas Stations?

What Needs to be Reported to the Regulators?

What Records Must You Keep?

Q: What You Should Do if You Receive a Violation?

If you receive a violation from a local, state or federal agency, the most important thing to do is contact a knowledgeable attorney.  Regardless of which authority issues the violation, penalties against gas stations and UST owners are the highest and strictest of all uses.  There are many regulations which call for as much as $10,000.00 per day in penalties and often the penalties range from $500.00 per day to $1,000.00 per day.  On the local level, Fire, Environmental and Building Departments can impose criminal penalties which include fines and at times incarceration.  Don’t ignore any violation or notice from a governmental authority.  Speak to a local attorney immediately.   

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Q: What Governmental Agencies Regulate Gas Stations?

Each State in the United States has enacted laws enforcing standards for storage and handling of petroleum products and to regulate aboveground and underground tanks storing these products. Regulations include UST registration, handling and storage requirements, rules for color coding of fill ports, shutoff valves, gauges and check valves, daily inventory records, UST closure requirements, tank, pipe and equipment testing.

On the Federal level, Subtitle I to the Resource Conservation And Recovery Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate underground storage tanks.  The law is designed to prevent leaks from UST’s, clean up contaminated sites, redevelop formerly contaminated sites into beneficial use, ensure owners and operators are able to pay for spill cleanup and develop and approve State regulatory programs.  The EPA has very strict guidelines for the installation, monitoring and operation of underground storage tanks.

Locally, many counties, cities and towns regulate gas stations and underground storage tanks  through zoning restrictions, weights and measure compliance and/or environmental agencies.  Careful attention to the local regulations Is as important as the state and federal authorities.

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Q: What Needs to be Reported to the Regulators?

You need to report to the regulatory authority on the following occasions:

  • When you install an UST, you have to fill out a notification form available from your state.  This form provides information about your UST, including a certification of correct installation.
  • You must report suspected releases to the regulatory authority immediately.  If a release is confirmed, you must also report follow-up actions you plan or have taken to correct the damage caused by your UST.
  • You must notify the regulatory authority 30 days before you permanently close your UST

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Q: What Records Must You Keep?

You will have to keep records that can be provided to an inspector during an on-site visit that prove your facility meets certain requirements.  You will have to keep records of leak detection performance, maintenance, monitoring results, tightness tests, performance claims provided by leak detection manufacturers, records of recent maintenance, repair, and calibration of on-site leak detection equipment, records showing the required inspections and tests of your corrosion protection system, records showing that a repaired or upgraded UST system was properly repaired or upgraded, records of the site assessment results required for permanent closure and records that document your financial responsibility.  Generally, you should follow this useful rule of thumb for record keeping:  When in doubt, keep it.

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Melvin B. Berfond, Attorney at Law assists clients in the Five Boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island), Nassau County, and Suffolk County with personal injury, commercial litigation, auto accident, slip/trip fall, wrongful death, and commercial transaction matters.

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