Failure to follow underground storage tank (UST) regulations can be costly, 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.