Hazardous Waste Management Commission refers four cases to Attorney General for enforcement action

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-388 For Immediate Release: Oct. 16, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Hazardous Waste Management Commission today asked the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue legal action against four Missouri businesses for violations of Missouri's Underground Storage Tank Law and Regulations. The department contacted the business owners of these sites multiple times, but has not received an adequate response.

The commission, at its Oct. 15 meeting in Jefferson City, voted to refer the cases to the Attorney General's Office to compel compliance and to seek an appropriate civil penalty for violations at the sites.

The department has asked the Attorney General to take enforcement actions against:

Liberty Harbor in Portage Des Sioux -- The facility is located on the banks of the Mississippi River at 1 Venetian Drive in Portage Des Sioux. The two tanks at the facility are not secure, a violation of temporary tank closure requirements. The Department of Natural Resources' inspectors also discovered an underground storage tank had a broken vent pipe, which could allow rising river water to enter the tank. This tank will need to be removed or recertified from the tank manufacturer before it can be used again.

Former Midwestern Oil and Supply Company in Joplin - The facility, located at 15th and Illinois, is cited with failure to comply with proper, permanent closure requirements. There are three underground storage tanks at the facility. These tanks are temporarily closed, but do not meet current standards and must be permanently closed.

Marquette Tire and Battery in St. Louis - The facility, located at 4007 Nebraska, is cited with failure to comply with proper, permanent closure requirements. There are seven underground storage tanks at the facility. These tanks are temporarily closed, but do not meet current standards and must be permanently closed.

Former United Rental in Florissant - This facility, located at 11833 New Halls Ferry Road, has one temporarily closed underground storage tank that does not meet upgrade requirements. The last owner to operate the tank sold the property in 1988. Under Missouri's underground storage tank law, the last owner to operate an underground storage tank is the responsible party for tank closure. The current owner could potentially be liable for any site contamination. Both parties, the previous and current owners, requested the facility be referred to the Attorney General's office to determine which party should be required to remove the tank and address the contamination.

Missouri's Underground Storage Tank Law exists to protect public and environmental health and the department is responsible for enforcing the law and regulations. Of the nearly 4,000 facilities in Missouri, the majority are in compliance with the law and regulations.

The department's enforcement actions help protect human health and the environment by requiring facilities to maintain compliance. The department's main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with the standards and then ensure they have the tools to remain in compliance. As part of that process, penalties may be used as an incentive to ensure future compliance and to remove the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

The department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before the issue is brought to the commission. In situations where the responsible party is unwilling or unable to cooperate to bring the facility into compliance and be protective of human health and the environment, the department will refer the case to the Attorney General's Office for legal action.

Additional information about the commission, including supporting documents related to this compliance case, is available on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/commission/commis.htm. For more information contact the department's Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-3176 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.

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