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For Release: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

DEC Announces Capital Region Gas Station Enforcement Initiative

Supports New York State's Efforts to Reduce Harmful Petroleum Vapors and Spills, Particularly in Environmental Justice Communities Disproportionately Burdened by Pollution

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 4 Director Anthony Luisi today announced the completion of a six-week gas station enforcement detail in the Capital Region and surrounding counties. Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) from DEC's Division of Law Enforcement, in coordination with DEC's divisions of Environmental Remediation and Air Resources staff, conducted the detail to protect public health and the environment by inspecting gas stations in disadvantaged communities disproportionately burdened by pollution, as well as other locations in the region.

"Enforcement details are an important tool to protect residents and natural resources from pollution and hold those responsible accountable," Regional Director Luisi said. "This latest gas station detail was an opportunity for us to take a hard look at a particular industry and work with facilities with violations to identify corrective measures and meet compliance requirements that protect public health and the environment."

The initiative largely focused on compliance at gas station locations in designated Environmental Justice areas (communities facing a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution) and included Albany, Schenectady, and Troy's West Hill, Mount Hope, Delaware Area, Bellevue, Mount Pleasant, Lansingburgh, and The Hill neighborhoods. Locations in other communities across the region's nine counties - Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie - were also inspected to ensure compliance with the State's stringent petroleum bulk storage and air regulations.

During the unannounced inspections, DEC identified non-compliant gas stations and observed a total of 276 violations. DEC worked with gas station representatives to identify corrective measures to reduce harmful vapors escaping from petroleum storage tanks, address petroleum spills from leaking tanks, and correct administrative violations.

Harmful vapors that escape from faulty petroleum storage tanks can impact the quality of life in a community and potentially create health issues for certain populations. Leaking petroleum tanks can contaminate large amounts of soil and water and have the potential to reach streams, rivers, lakes, and other sources of drinking water, contaminating the water used by people and wildlife. The cost of cleanup at facilities after a leak can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more.

Each facility with violations was given an appropriate time frame to correct their infractions. If the violations are not corrected in the required time frame, the facility will be subject to formal administrative enforcement, which may include monetary penalties. DEC will perform follow-up inspections at all the facilities to ensure compliance.

ECO stands at gas station counter looking over paperwork
ECO inspecting a gas station's 10 day inventory reconciliation sheets, which compare the amount of fuel received and the amount measured in the tank.

ECO looks down into manhole that is filled with water
ECO inspecting a gas tank sump in violation for being filled with water.

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