Petroleum Companies ordered to pay $1.7 million for hazardous waste violations

OAKLAND, CA — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, along with the Attorney General Rob Bonta’s Office and the District Attorney’s offices of Lake, Mendocino, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties, announce a $1.7 million settlement with owners and operators of Petroleum Storage facilities and gas stations for violations of environmental laws involving the storage of hazardous materials at retail gas stations.   The case was pending in Alameda County Superior Court and litigated by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Division.

Three of these gas stations operated by Defendants were located in Alameda County at 1107 5th Street and 421 23rd Avenue, in Oakland, and 1565 Industrial Parkway, in Hayward.  Defendants involved a total of 14 gas stations throughout the state are: Bay Area/Diablo Petroleum, Co. (dba Golden Gate Petroleum) Westgate Petroleum Co., Westgate Petroleum Company, Inc., Eastgate Petroleum LLC (dba Golden Gate Petroleum), and Dennis O’Keefe, own or operate gas stations around Northern California.

An investigation found a recurring failure to properly maintain, install, implement, and operate various spill prevention and safety measures since at least 2013. This settlement includes robust injunctive terms to improve the defendants’ operational safety and compliance with state laws to avoid potential contamination of soil and groundwater.

Owners and operators of underground storage tanks, or USTs, at retail gas stations throughout the state are subject to fair and environmental laws designed to prevent underground petroleum releases to surface and ground water. Both above-ground and underground storage tank systems follow strict regulations in our state because even small undetected tank leaks can cause substantial contamination to soil and groundwater.

“These environmental laws are put into place for a reason: to protect California residents and the environment from harm due to hazardous contaminants,” said District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. “My office takes these cases very seriously and will continue to monitor bad actors in our county and state. I want to thank my fellow colleagues in justice for their hard work in investigating this case and bringing a settlement in this case.”

“Making sure that owners and operators of retail gas stations properly maintain and monitor their underground storage tanks serves to protect the community and our precious natural resources. This settlement obtained by this team of environmental prosecutors serves to further these important environmental goals,” said DDA Kevin Wong, the prosecutor on this case.

According to the complaint, the defendants failed to adequately install, monitor, operate, and calibrate important on-site equipment designed to detect leaks. It is also alleged that the defendants failed to comply with laws regulating hazardous waste and hazardous materials.

As part of the judgement, the defendants will pay $1.7 million in civil penalties and imposes more than a dozen injunctive terms, including employment of an environmental compliance coordinator and annual reporting requirements.


Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero // (510) 919-0081