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Oregon DEQ fines Bend gas station nearly $12K over underground-tank issues; owners expect reduction

Oregon DEQ

No release or contamination alleged; owner's rep cites 'subtle changes' in how DEQ requirements apply

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has fined a Bend gas station nearly $12,000, alleging it failed to install proper spill detection equipment for underground storage tanks and to conduct required testing and inspections. But the business disputed the claims, saying it’s been working with the agency and expects a reduction in the penalty.

“DEQ documented numerous violations” during an inspection of the UST (underground storage tank) system last October, Kieran O’Donnell, the manager of DEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, wrote in a March 21 certified letter to Kashmir Uppal, who with his wife operate the Butler Market South Deli & Gas on South Highway 97.

“DEQ issued this penalty because you failed to install release detection equipment that complies with UST regulations when you installed new USTs in November 2016,” O’Donnell said in the formal notification of the $11,797.50 civil penalty, one of 13 the DEQ issued in March.

After DEQ's order requiring the owners to install release detection sensors and conduct testing within 90 days of the notice, O’Donnell added, “If you complete these requirements, DEQ will consider recalculating the costs … and will reduce the civil penalty accordingly.”

A representative of the business told NewsChannel 21 the violations cited by DEQ “were mainly due to a change in leak detection requirements by the DEQ.”

He also took issue with DEQ’s claim that the business lacked required equipment or failed to conduct adequate testing.

“There was monitoring, testing and leak detection taking place,” said the representative, who asked not to be named. “But there were subtle changes in how the code and requirements apply as to what kind of testing is required. It was decided not to appeal, in an effort to just get the system updated, to be sure the right thing was being done.”

He said the tanks and leak detection system were “signed off on by DEQ in 2017, when the tanks were replaced with new. Since the infraction, the owners have gone to great lengths and expense to update all systems, even beyond minimum standards.”

“The owners have worked closely and in conjunction with Oregon DEQ and local environmental consultants," the business representative continued, adding: “There was no release or contamination of any kind.” (The agency has not alleged such.)

“The matter has been resolved,” the business representative said, “and even though no appeal was filed, a reduction in fines due to the extensive corrective actions and expense taken to get that system completely up to date is anticipated.”

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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