City to pay $445K in fines relating to storage tank laws

The city is set to pay $445,000 in penalties and enforcement costs after state officials found Glendale in violation of several laws governing the underground storage of hazardous substances, such as unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel.

State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit against Glendale relating to the abuses on July 25, but the lawsuit was an administrative formality because the two sides have already agreed to the settlement, said City Atty. Mike Garcia.

The city is liable for $1.06 million, but much of that has been suspended, according to a stipulated agreement between the two sides.

The city is set to pay about $252,500 to the state and use the remainder of the settlement, $192,500, on an environmental project operated by the city. The project is to relate to the clean-up of a cancer-causing water contaminant called chromium 6.

The city will not have to pay the remainder of the penalties so long as it remains in compliance with underground storage tank laws, according to the agreement.

Glendale violated underground-storage-tank laws at several facilities operated by the fire, police, public works and utility departments, according to the lawsuit. The city operates tanks at 11 locations, including Fire Station No. 21 at 421 Oak St. and at the Police Department, 131 N. Isabel St.

The city, according to court records, failed to perform monthly visual inspections of all underground-storage-tank systems, maintain and test functional backup containment systems, annually test and certify monitoring equipment, install or maintain leak detectors, maintain monitoring and maintenance records and report the capacity of certain tanks, among other violations.

The underground-storage-tank law is administered by the State Water Board and aims to protect the environment and public health by requiring that storage tanks are properly installed, maintained, inspected, tested and upgraded, according to the lawsuit.

Garcia said that despite the broken rules, which he described as technical violations, there was no environmental contamination.

Glendale has been working on new methods to remove chromium 6 from its groundwater for more than a decade. Glendale Water & Power keeps the level of chromium 6 in drinking water far below state and federal caps by eliminating most of the contaminant from groundwater and blending that with clean, imported water.

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