$6 Million Settlement Reached With Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for Underground
Storage Tank Violations
SACRAMENTO CA (3/11/2019) – The State Water Resources Control Board has reached a $6 million
settlement with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for alleged
violations of regulations concerning storage of hazardous substances in underground storage
tanks (UST) at 16 facilities owned by MTA.
The State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement began an investigation in July 2015 under the
Government Owned and/or Operated Tanks (GOT) initiative after alleged violations were
identified during an inspection at one facility owned and operated by MTA. Concerned that
similar violations existed at other MTA facilities, inspections were completed at the 15 remaining
facilities by April 2016.
The GOT initiative is part of the state’s Underground Storage Tank Program, which seeks to
protect public health and safety and the environment from releases of petroleum and other
hazardous substances from leaking underground tanks.
Some of the alleged violations by MTA include failure to maintain secondary containment; failure
to monitor product piping; tampering with leak detection equipment; operating without a permit;
failure to maintain primary containment; failure to maintain spill containment requirements; and
failure to maintain UST monitoring systems.
“This settlement demonstrates that public and private tank owners will be held equally
accountable in protecting water quality through the enforcement of UST statutes and
regulations,” said Yvonne West, director of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement. “In
this case, MTA has taken great steps forward in coming into compliance, and we expect the
resolution will be effective in maintaining that compliance.”
Under the terms of the settlement, MTA will pay $2 million in civil penalties to the State Water
Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account and $67,050 for reimbursement of enforcement
costs. Another $2 million will be suspended with the condition that MTA completes several
enhanced compliance actions. The remaining $2 million will also be suspended as long as MTA
maintains compliance with the underground storage tank requirements specified in the judgment
for a period of five years.
This lawsuit is the sixth enforcement action by the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement
against a public entity under the State Water Board’s Government Owned and/or Operated Tank
(GOT) initiative that started in 2010 with the assistance of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. The purpose of the GOT initiative is to ensure that violations associated
with USTs owned by local, state and federal agencies are handled in a similar manner as
violations associated with privately owned USTs.
The settlement agreement (https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/enforcement/docs/2019/la_metro_20190225.pdf), filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, can be found on the
State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement website (https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/enforcement/docs/2019/2019_01_TKO_Order_Exec.pdf).
Contact: Blair Robertson Blair.Robertson@waterboards.ca.gov