Wilton gas station owner pays $40,000 fine

WILTON – The owners of a Wilton convenience store and gas station agreed to pay a $40,000 fine to address concerns about the removal of underground gas tanks on the premises.

Owners of the Brookside Mini Mart at 626 Gibbons Highway agreed to pay the civil penalty in a settlement executed in Hillsborough County Superior Court South, according to a recent announcement by the state attorney general and the Department of Environmental Services.

State environmental officials became interested in the gas station’s underground storage tanks after a nearby well became contaminated with gasoline.

The state hoped to test the tanks while they were being closed, but the owners removed them before a forensic evaluation of the system took place, according to the attorney general’s office.

State law requires that DES be notified a minimum of 30 days before removal.

“Proper notification enables DES to fully investigate the condition of the tanks, piping, and surrounding soil when petroleum storage tanks are unearthed and removed,” DES Commissioner Thomas S. Burack said in the announcement.

The gas station is owned by an entity called ENI 626 & 630 Gibbons Highway LLC. Records on file at the Secretary of State’s office indicate the business is managed through the offices of Energy North Inc. in Tewksbury, Mass. Efforts to contact a representative from Energy North on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

According to the attorney general, the settlement resolves allegations that the company conducted permanent tank closure activities – including excavation and removal of four petroleum storage tanks – before notifying DES.

Under the agreement, ENI neither admitted nor denied it was guilty of violating environmental regulations. The company has already paid the $40,000 civil fine.

“Notification requirements such as these are essential, not only for determining whether there is a party liable for contamination, but also for assessing the best remedial response required,” Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a prepared statement. “Notification also allows DES to proactively identify equipment issues that could cause problems at other facilities and that should be avoided in future installations in order to protect the environment and our citizens.”

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).