B&H Petroleum Equipment Company of Mankato, owned by Stargate Inc., has paid a $15,000 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a series of underground storage tank violations. In addition to the civil penalty, the MPCA suspended B&H’s underground storage tank contractor certification for the month of June 2020. During this time period B&H was not able to do underground storage tank installations, repairs, or removals. This is the first time the MPCA has taken this kind of decertification action.
The violations date back to 2014 when B&H was hired to install E-85 compliant equipment at eight gas stations in Mower and Freeborn Counties. MPCA staff inspections revealed that the equipment was not E-85 compliant. The noncompliant work relates to dispenser meters and manifolds, submersible turbine pumps, suction pumps, and underground piping. B&H also failed to properly install required overfill protection devices.
Installing equipment that is not E-85 compliant, according to the MPCA, could cause the systems to degrade or fail prematurely, which could lead to gasoline leaks and spills. Failing to install overfill protection devices can lead to a more widespread problem in the event of a spill.
MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.