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Attorney General Lockyer Files Lawsuit Against Fuel Distributor for Alleged Hazardous Waste Storage Violations in Three Counties
SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced the filing of a lawsuit against BC Stocking Distributing Corp., of Vacaville, California, for allegedly storing fuel and petroleum waste products in three northern California counties in violation of state hazardous waste control and underground storage tank laws.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Sacramento County Superior Court on behalf of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and in conjunction with the district attorneys of Yolo and Solano counties. The fuel storage tanks were found in Sacramento, Woodland and Dixon.
"It is vital that we protect our environment and citizens from unauthorized and unmonitored hazardous waste storage tanks," Lockyer said. "Improper use of these storage tanks threaten to contaminate water supplies with hazardous wastes. Californians already pay some $3.5 billion for cleanup efforts."
DTSC Director Ed Lowry added: "The filing of this case is the culmination of several investigations at various facilities owned by BC Stocking. Compliance and enforcement of state laws regarding hazardous waste management are the best tools we have to protect public health and the environment."
BC Stocking Distributing Corp., is an independently owned wholesaler and retailer of fuel, primarily serving truck fleets and agricultural customers from about a dozen locations in five counties that include Sacramento, Yolo and Solano.
As part of its operation, BC Stocking Distributing Corp., was permitted by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to store up to 20,000 gallons of used oil in two above-ground tanks. However, state inspectors found the company was storing more than the allowed limit without adequate containers or safety practices.
According to the lawsuit, the company violated state laws by failing to report the presence of excess hazardous waste at its Dixon facility. The reports are used by local health and fire departments to plan emergency responses for the prevention or containment of accidental spills.
The complaint alleges the company also violated state laws by falsely indicating only limited storage of hazardous waste in the two above-ground tanks it was permitted to use. Investigators found storage tanks being used at company facilities, including a 20,000-gallon tank full of used oil and hundreds of drums of contaminated gasoline.
The company also is alleged to have violated state laws by failing to monitor the tanks for leaks. Among other things, state investigators found that the company failed to follow up on possible leaks found at storage sites in Yolo County during an eight-month period in 1996. The site is now one of eight for which the company is seeking state hazardous waste clean-up funds.
The alleged violations in Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties involved 17 storage tanks with capacities ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 gallons each. The storage tanks were operated without permits or proper monitoring for periods of 14 to 18 months.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to ensure future compliance with state hazardous waste storage laws and substantial penalties that could total millions of dollars.
"We are filing this lawsuit to seek company-wide compliance with state toxic control laws and to consolidate legal actions that otherwise would have to be taken in three counties," Lockyer said. "This is a cooperative effort by state and local agencies to enforce environmental protection laws."