Bryan Cohen Feb. 5, 2013, 7:37pm

OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a civil lawsuit Friday against multiple BP companies and Atlantic Richfield Company for allegedly violating state laws that govern hazardous materials.

The lawsuit against BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Company alleges that the companies failed to properly inspect and maintain underground tanks used to store gasoline for retail sale at more than 780 California gas stations.

"Safe storage of gasoline is not only common sense, it is essential to protecting the integrity of California's groundwater resources," Harris said. "California's hazardous waste laws safeguard public health and this lawsuit ensures proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath California's communities."

The lawsuit alleges that since October 2006, ARCO and the BP companies improperly inspected, monitored and maintained underground storage tanks used to store gasoline for retail sale, tampered with or disabled leak detection devices, failed to test secondary containment systems, failed to conduct monthly inspections, failed to train employees in proper protocol and failed to maintain operational alarm systems. The defendants also allegedly improperly handled and disposed of hazardous materials and wastes associated with the tanks.

In January 2012, Harris's office filed a similar lawsuit against ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66.

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