Underground tanks removed at judge's order

KINGMAN - Rather than close three underground storage tanks at the Beaver Dam filling station in Littlefield, the owner has removed them completely.

Last year, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Janet Barton ordered Bill Evans, the owner of the station, to close the tanks by May 8 because of longstanding violations of Arizona's underground storage tank regulations. Evans removed the tanks on May 6, said Mark Shaffer, communications director for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Evans was found to have failed to implement an appropriate method to detect releases, conduct tests of the pressurized tanks and pipes, install automatic leak detectors and a spill and overfill protection device, provide rust protection for underground storage tank systems, and show evidence of financial responsibility, a news release stated. The purpose of requirements is to protect soil and groundwater from underground storage tank leaks.

The ADEQ now is waiting on closure analysis of the area, which includes testing the soil to determine any negative side effect of the tanks.

The court also ordered Evans to pay $5,000 in fines for the violations. Evans has yet to pay the fines, Shaffer said. ADEQ will contact the Arizona Attorney General's Office to determine a course of action to receive the fines, he added.

The legal process started when ADEQ filed a civil complaint against Evans. Evans had violated a 2007 consent order in which he agreed to follow safety regulations that he had been violating since 1998.

"Mr. Evans failed to live up to the terms of the consent order he agreed to," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens in a news release. "We have given him more than enough time to comply with the law."