Gas station owners paying civil penalty

By Keith Loria | Jan 14, 2011


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - The owners and operators of a gas station have agreed to a settlement after they allegedly failed to clean up gas contamination, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced.

Under terms of the settlement, Elizabeth Jackson and John Jackson, as well as the corporation and real estate trust they control, will pay a $10,000 civil penalty for allegedly failing to follow a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection order to clean up gasoline contamination from an underground storage tank located on their property.

They are alleged to have been in violation of the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act.

They are required to complete cleanup of the gas station property by May 10, 2015, in according with MassDEP timelines and requirements.

"The law requires persons responsible for the release of oil or hazardous material into the environment to conduct and pay for the cleanup of their contaminated properties," Coakley said. "We will pursue those who do not promptly and willingly comply with the law."

Coakley's office filed its lawsuit after MassDEP received reports from a consultant working for the defendants that groundwater monitoring at the gas station showed unsafe concentrations of methyl tertiary-butyl ether, a constituent of gasoline, near a private drinking water well on an adjacent property.

The defendants allegedly repeatedly ignored compliance demands from MassDEP that called for a prompt assessment, classification and remediation of the site. As a result, MassDEP alleges, public safety, welfare and the environment were put at an increased potential risk by the contamination.

The defendants agreed to conduct the remainder of the cleanup and to pay a civil penalty when threatened with a lawsuit, allowing them to avoid litigation.

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