MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Thursday a judgment against the owner of a Kenosha County gas station to resolve allegations of state environmental law violations.

Rakhra Wisconsin EZ Go Stations Three Inc. allegedly violated regulations related to the maintenance of underground storage tanks, handling or use of combustible or flammable liquids and proper abandonment of unused tanks. The tanks at issue in the matter were located in Kenosha.

Rakhra failed to obtain a valid operation permit for either of the tanks at the Kenosha site since Feb. 18, 2009. The tanks were allegedly out-of-service since 2004.

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services issued state orders to Rakhra on April 2, 2009 and May 11, 2009, requiring the company to obtain an operation permit for each tank or permanently close each tank at the site.

Under the terms of the judgment, Rakhra must pay $48,451 in forfeitures, surcharges and court costs, and obtain an operation permit for each tank or permanently close each tank at the site.

If Rakhra fails to comply with the judgment, the DSPS or the state Department of Natural Resources is authorized to enter the site, remove non-compliant tanks and place a lien on the property for the cost of the tank's permanent closure.

State environmental laws regulating underground storage tank maintenance are meant to protect the waters of the state from liquid contamination.

When storage tanks fall out of compliance with state law, they can contaminate groundwater flowing through the ground with petroleum products. The petroleum vapors also can seep into nearby basements.

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