MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Several Circle K and Holiday gas stations throughout Minnesota were found to have failed to properly test and replace corrosion protection equipment between 2019 and 2022.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Circle K Stores Inc., and Holiday Stationstores LLC have been fined $200,000 for storage tank violations at five Minnesota locations in Northfield, Owatonna, Pine City, Rochester, and Walker.
The stores were each found to have failed to properly test, report, and fix or replace the corrosion protection equipment – known as cathodic protection – which is designed to protect older underground tank systems from corrosion that can increase the chance of leaks into area soil and groundwater. The average age of the underground tank systems at these locations was found to be around 40 years old, according to the MPCA.
In addition to paying the $200,000 civil penalty, a settlement agreement requires the companies to spend a minimum of $3.25 million to replace underground tank systems at five other locations, in Beaver Bay, Crosby, Duluth, Forest Lake and Ortonville, by the end of 2024. The MPCA selected these locations based on their proximity to nearby bodies of water and the age of their systems, according to a press release.
The violations would not have any adverse effects on consumer vehicles, but rather create potential for harm to the environment, the MPCA said.
Operating permits require the company to test corrosion protection equipment at least annually, report failed tests to the MPCA within 30 days, and fix or replace equipment within 60 days of failed tests. However, MPCA staff inspections in 2022 confirmed that each location documented between one and six failed tests that were not reported, and equipment that had not been repaired.