Monthly Archives: July 2015

July 29th, 2015

OSFM fines owner record $610,000 for UST violations

Failure to follow underground storage tank (UST) regulations can be osfmcostly, as a gas station owner in Silvis, IL recently discovered.

Baldev Singh was fined $610,000 for multiple violations by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM). This judgment is the largest ever awarded to the OSFM against an individual owner of a UST facility.

The Rock Island County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order on July 14, 2015 after Mr. Singh failed to appear to defend himself against the lawsuit filed by OSFM.

The ‘Jack and Jill’ gas station ceased operations sometime in late 2011.  OSFM first issued a notice of violation in 2012 for regulatory deficiencies regarding the two USTs.  Then in 2013, OSFM ordered the remaining gasoline from its tanks to be emptied and the USTs to be upgraded or removed.  When Mr. Singh did not comply with either notice of violation, OSFM filed a lawsuit against him in May 2014.

“Gasoline tanks left unattended with remaining fuel pose a significant risk to the public,” said Deputy Director Les Albert. “The Office of the State Fire Marshal remains vigilant in its mission to ensure the protection of lives and property.”

In a separate case, OSFM was also recently awarded a $365,000 judgment against another UST owner who did not properly remove their out-of-service USTs in Oakwood, IL.

The State of Illinois has been cracking down on UST violations.  If your facility receives a notice of violation from OSFM, do not ignore it.  Failure to address the violations can result in significant fines and penalties.  While the cases above are among the higher fines assessed, OSFM is more routinely penalizing UST owners $50,000 – $100,000, plus the cost to correct the violations.

If you need assistance with your UST violations, contact Nancy Valenta at nvalenta[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123.



July 21st, 2015

Incentives available to reduce energy costs

Chicago Metro Metal Consortium, the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing, and S&C Electric invite you to join them on July 30th, 2015 (8:00am – 10:00am) to learn about energy incentives available for manufacturers.

This free program will feature:

  • An overview of S&C Electric’s energy conservation and efficiency efforts
  • Presentation by Hill Mechanical, a contractor that performs the construction work for these initiatives, on solutions — and cost offsets — for building systems retrofits.
  • Information on utility programs & rebates available from ComEd and People’s / North Shore Gas

The event will conclude with a tour and demonstration of S&C’s smart grid and an opportunity for networking with energy and innovation experts. A complimentary continental breakfast will be served.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Ptak
Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

Register online at the Energy Incentives for Manufacturers website.

July 15th, 2015

Wisconsin abruptly ends cleanup funding via PECFA

wisconsin dnrWisconsin’s 2015-2017 budget will not include any funding for the state’s tank clean-up fund, Governor Scott Walker surprisingly announced on Sunday.  The budget sent to him by the Wisconsin Senate included a planned sunset of the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) reimbursement program to releases reported prior to July 1, 2017 and claims received prior to July 1, 2020.

Gov. Walker’s line-item veto, however, abruptly sped up the end of the cleanup program.  Any tank owner with a current PECFA project must submit their reimbursement claim for their clean-up expenses by July 20, 2015 – a mere 8 days after the budget was signed into law.  “The program has existed for a sufficient time that its primary purpose has been completed,” stated Gov. Walker.

PECFA was created in the late 1980s to help pay for the clean-up of contamination caused by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) and aboveground storage tanks (ASTs).  It is funded by a tax added to all petroleum products sold.  It is unclear at this time what will happen to the remaining money in the PECFA fund once the final reimbursement claims are paid.

Any Wisconsin tank owner who has a release in the future will no longer be able to seek assistance from the State to handle the contamination.  The environmental clean up requirements remain in place.   This sudden end of the PECFA fund will hurt individuals and small business owners who lack the resources to respond adequately on their own to a leaking tank.

Over its 25+ year history, PECFA provided more than $1.5 billion in funding to help clean up more than 16,000 sites.  As of September 2014, there were still more than 1,000 clean-ups in process throughout Wisconsin according to U.S. EPA data.  Additionally, there are nearly 73,000 known tanks in use or temporarily out of service in the state – and possibly as many as 200,000 additional unregistered tanks.

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget message, veto summary

July 8th, 2015

MWRD Wins Five Platinum Peak Performance Awards

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently won five Platinum Peak Performance Awards, signifying 100-percent compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination MWRD colorSystem (NPDES) permits over a consecutive five-year period.

The Calumet WRP received the platinum award for 23 years of 100-percent compliance; followed by the Lemont WRP for 18 years; James C. Kirie WRP in Des Plaines for 10 years; Terrence J. O’Brien in Skokie for nine years; and Hanover Park WRP for seven years.

In addition, MWRD won two Gold Peak Performance Awards for its Egan WRP and Stickney WRP facilities.  This gold level signifies 100-percent compliance with its NPDES permit for one calendar year.

These awards are handed out by the National Association for Clean Water Agencies annually.

Source: Water World, “MWRD earns several Peak Performance Awards for water treatment compliance,” July 2nd, 2015

July 2nd, 2015

Thornton Reservoir Tours Available for a Limited Time

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is nearing completion of its Thornton Reservoir project, which will become one of the largest quarries devoted to stormwater capture and floor relief in the world.

Before allowing water to fill the reservoir in August, MWRD is offering a limited number of tours of the limestone quarry.

These tours are offered to the public on Sunday, July 12th and Sunday, July 26th.   Participants will view the quarry from a bus along the floor of the reservoir, approximately 300 feet below surface level.  Each tour takes approximately 30 minutes.

30-40 openings are still available on these tours.  Call the MWRD Office of Public Affairs at (312) 751-6633 or email tours@mwrd.org to make a reservation.

The Thornton Reservoir is located south of I-80/I-294 between Halsted Street and Indiana Avenue.  This $400+ million project has been in process since 1998.  Once completed, the former quarry will hold nearly eight billion gallons water and will be an important part of MWRD’s flood management plan.

Below are some photos from Gabriel’s tour of the Thornton Reservoir in June:

Gabriel group quarry - web




thornton reservoir pic - web

More photos can be found in our Picasa album:  Thornton Reservoir tour.