Army OKs Fines, Better Underground Storage Tank Oversight in Deal With EPA

Jul 3, 2014

Army officials have agreed to pay nearly $160,000 in fines to the Environmental Protect Agency for Fort Wainwright’s failure to manage underground storage tanks as required by a federal law designed to protect groundwater.

The federal RCRA law requires regular inspections of underground storage tanks and, as in this case, replacement when leaks are found.
Credit U.S. Army

EPA’s Seattle office announced the fines Wednesday. The agency says Army officials are now taking steps to improve management of storage tanks on the fort to comply with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

EPA officials say the area’s drinking water could have been put at risk due to the mismanagement.

The settlement comes after EPA inspections of 20 underground storage tanks on the post in 2012 and 2013. EPA officials say the fort’s garrison failed to test for suspected leaks and other problems in 19 of tanks, which hold gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, oil and antifreeze.

EPA says no leaks were reported on any of the tanks, some of which hold up to 30,000 gallons. But the agency says post officials wouldn't have known if one had occurred because of the inadequate monitoring.

Post officials didn’t respond to requests for comment on the issue.