MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a $48,959 judgment Monday against a Kenosha County gas station owner for allegedly violating state environmental laws regulating underground storage tank maintenance.

Gurpal Wisconsin Stations LLC allegedly failed to obtain a valid operation permit for any of its underground storage tanks at its 704 75th Street location in Kenosha, failed to operate and maintain its corrosion protection and leak protection systems, failed to meet the state's financial responsibility requirements and failed to perform periodic inspections, maintenance and monitoring.

On April 1, 2009, and May 11, 2009, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services issued state orders to Gurpal requiring it to either obtain an operation permit for each of the three tanks or permanently close each tank at the Kenosha site. Closing the tanks would require removing the tanks from the ground and testing for soil contamination.

Under the terms of the judgment, Gurpal must pay $48,959 in forfeitures, surcharges and court costs and obtain an operation permit for each tank or permanently close each tank at the site. If Gurpal does not comply with the terms of the judgment, the DSPS or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources can enter the site, remove any non-compliant tanks and place a lien on the property for the money needed to permanently close the tank.

State environmental laws regulating the maintenance of underground storage tanks, handling or use of combustible or flammable liquids and proper abandonment of unused tanks are meant to protect state waters from harm due to contamination. When the soil surrounding a non-compliant storage tank becomes contaminated with petroleum products, the soil can contaminate groundwater flowing through the ground and emit petroleum vapors into nearby basements.

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