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September 2003

Sunoco, Inc. to Pay $968,000 in Fines and Penalties

Boston, MA— State environmental officials levied a $968,000 fine against Philadelphia-based Sunoco, Inc. after the company failed to construct and operate a properly functioning treatment system to clean up contaminated groundwater at a company-run gasoline station in Hanover.

“Whether large or small, all companies doing business in Massachusetts will be held to the same strict standards for environmental protection,” said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder. “Activities that put our natural resources at risk will not be tolerated.”

Sunoco did not abide by a previously approved consent order for this site, risking an important groundwater source. The penalty, announced by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), was assessed following Sunoco’s failure to meet the state’s cleanup regulations and deadlines.

The $968,000 demand reflects stipulated penalties that Sunoco agreed to in an August 2001 consent order. That order was negotiated after Sunoco failed to submit a complete site assessment and remedial cleanup plan by DEP deadlines for Capeway Sunoco Service Station, located at 218 Columbia Road in Hanover. The original consent order included a separate $10,000 penalty.

As part of the original consent order, Sunoco was required to install a High Vacuum Extraction (HVE) system at the site to remove concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the groundwater. However, that system has experienced repeated operational and maintenance problems. The system has not operated as designed since Sunoco submitted a report to DEP in February 2002 stating that the system was operational.

Today’s demand seeks payment of the penalty, submission of the necessary technical reports and requires Sunoco to implement modifications to ensure that the HVE system utilized at the site operates correctly and meets the required performance standards.

The groundwater contamination of the site was originally discovered when a 4,000-gallon underground storage tank failed a tightness test, indicating that there was a leak.


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