BP Whacked for $14 Million in California

SAN DIEGO (CN) – BP and ARCO will $14 million to settle state charges of poorly maintaining gasoline storage tanks for 10 years throughout California.

BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America and Atlantic Richfield Company violated hazardous material and waste laws by not properly maintaining underground gasoline storage tanks.

The California Attorney General’s Office and district attorneys throughout the state claimed that since 2006 the companies failed to properly inspect and maintain underground tanks at 780 gas stations in California.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced the settlement Thursday.

Seventy-four of the gas stations involved in the settlement are in San Diego.

“This settlement holds BP accountable for putting our environment and our communities at risk in San Diego County,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a statement.

The companies also were accused of tampering with or disabling leak detection devices, improperly handling and disposing of hazardous waste, failing to test secondary containment systems, conduct monthly inspections, train employees, and maintain alarm systems.

The oil companies did not have to admit liability. The settlement includes $8.945 million in civil penalties, $3.745 million for costs of investigation and prosecution, and $1.31 million for environmental protection.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Alameda County Superior Court.

BP owned 780 facilities at the beginning of the investigation – significantly more than the 73 facilities it now owns and operates.

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