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Archive for Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gasoline may have leaked farther than thought, KDHE says

Homeowners, tenant file lawsuit against Presto Oil Inc.

May 11, 2006

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A leaking gasoline tank in Old West Lawrence could have contaminated groundwater and soil underneath more than two city blocks, state officials said Wednesday.

The announcement came after days of soil samples near the Presto Phillips 66 gas station, Ninth and Louisiana streets, estimated that gasoline from leaking underground tanks flowed east toward Ohio Street and beyond.

Whatever gas sits dormant under homes in the neighborhood may take more than a year to fully clean, officials said.

"Whatever is going to happen, it's not going to be an immediate thing," said Dan Kellerman, an incident manager for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Kellerman and other KDHE officials gathered on Wednesday in Lawrence to answer questions from Old West Lawrence residents.

So far, the state has pumped more than 30,000 gallons of gas-laden water and 1,700 gallons of pure fuel from trenches near where the underground tanks were, Kellerman said. The tanks were removed earlier this week.

But officials urged residents not to panic. The leaking gas should not affect top soil or the water system. Gas fumes stopped appearing in the sewer system this week.

State crews dug seven wells in the area to monitor gas levels, and officials said that they would continue to take soil samples and remove any excess liquids until the area was clean.

To pay for the cleanup, the station will be allowed to use the Kansas Petroleum Storage Tank trust fund, a taxpayer-funded account that pays for state cleanups of tank leaks.

The account, funded by a 1 cent gas tax, has a $1 million cap, although officials said a cleanup rarely costs that much.

But residents at the meeting were also concerned about gas trapped in the soil resurfacing during heavy rains and entering their homes.

When leaked gasoline entered the basement of 838 La. on April 30, the furnace ignited a fire that destroyed the home, which contained five apartments.

The homeowners, Lelon Capps and Kandis Capps Taylor, along with Curtis Johnson, a tenant in the destroyed home, filed a petition in Douglas County Court seeking damages against Presto Oil Inc., the owners of the station.

The petition claims that storing the leaking tanks was an abnormally dangerous activity, and that Johnson suffered loss of property and psychological damage because of the fuel-driven blaze.

The suit also claims that the Capps' business also suffered in the fire.

"Capps have suffered a loss of revenue, loss of profits ... because they are unable to collect rent from their apartment building," the petition said.

The lawsuit doesn't ask for a specific damage amount. The home is valued at $172,700, according to 2005 county records.

Todd Brendmoen, a Presto representative, could not be reached for comment.

During the meeting, KDHE officials told Matthew Culp, attorney for the plaintiffs, that the state would not compensate residents for lost property valuation because of the leaked gas.

"It's the station's responsibility," said KDHE storage tank manager Randy Carlson.

The station is required to carry a $1 million insurance policy, and any property losses or devaluations would come out of that, Carlson said.

Great American Custom provides insurance for the station.

Gary Blackburn, a KDHE remediation director, said that the possibility of gas resurfacing during heavy rains existed.

"There is a possible fire risk," Blackburn said.

To help combat any possible fire risk, officials said that in the coming days the state will distribute basement gas detectors to all residents in the affected area.

Comments

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

woodlingtonwho,

you state:

"5. Asbestos speaks like someone who only has half the facts.............and would rather sling attacks than attend a public meeting or work with the legislature to get more money for the state to provide the services he says are lacking. 6. State Employees have gotten a 2.5% raise in the past 5 years, try to retain good employees for very long with that kind of support."

More money paying for people who don't do their job or cannot do their job is not good. Mory money just makes it more expensive to be incompetent and ineffecient.

Your attidude is "because we aren't getting paid we cannot deliver the services so sorry Kansas taxpayer, we cannot protect you."

KDHe has a hiring philosophy of not hiring those with experienc "so they can train them properly".

If TeamPollution and the rest of the yahoos have been in the business so long and are so very experienced they would know that. It is well known in the Kansas Private Environmental Business sector. The people KDHE sends out to the fiels are usually clueless.

As for the contractor doing the tightness test, who told them to do it. And if the contractor did it, he needs to share in the responsibility of RCRA UST violation.

You guys are the one that are clueless.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

ANd TeamPollution you have made it abundantly clear that you cannot look at a problem objectively and all the angles involved. Yes I ranted about KDHE, however look at the questions I raised.

You are the one who thinks the word is your neighborhood with a fence around it. When you find out my identity it will be clear the depth and breadth of my experience far eclipses yours.

You are a small minded person who cannot look beyond one little issue and is blinded to the big picture.

You are a KCHE wonk and probably a poster with 2 handles aren't you. Simmilar posts form 2 different people.

Look at the comments on the today's story.

I am vindicated by those. More people who pay taxes share my view.

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TeamPollution 7 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS, I think you've made it abundantly clear with your own rants that you're a total idiot who doesn't have a clue about environmental issues.

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Kline 7 years, 11 months ago

All of the neighboring homes affected are stigmatized for having an environmental problem that will go with the home when they eventually sell. This could hurt the resale value of these homes. I wonder if Kansas has an award cap on any lawsuits for environmental contamination?

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woodlingwho 7 years, 11 months ago

  1. THe EPA does not have the personnel to run a state program, that's why they let the state do it.
  2. KDHE has a Storage tank section that is well respected compared to other states.....check out Missouri's program.
  3. Licensed Contractors test tanks, not KDHE.
  4. Presto is the one you should be mad at here, how come you're not railing at Presto. take a close look at how they chose to monitor their tanks.
  5. Asbestos speaks like someone who only has half the facts.............and would rather sling attacks than attend a public meeting or work with the legislature to get more money for the state to provide the services he says are lacking.
  6. State Employees have gotten a 2.5% raise in the past 5 years, try to retain good employees for very long with that kind of support.
  7. Tanks from the 70's, that's pretty old. Bet it was too costly for Presto to consider protecting the environment, health or safety with new tanks.
  8. Keep buying that gas so the Trust fund can pay for the inevitable tank leak, or, push for safe streets, and neighborhoods built for walking and biking. Your choice.
  9. Too bad this discussion was hijacked, it could have been a useful public discourse.
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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

(Continued) You are standing on a cow patty pretending you are the "man on the silvery mountian".

Clueless and delusional, and sadly misinformed.

Obvious grudge, yes. Lots of experience, and hash marks. You sound like this is your first case with KDHE.

You sound like aKDHE hack and apologist regardless of how much you deny it. ANd yes you are defending KDHE, even an idiot can see that.

You state:

"We could fix that if we were all willing to double our taxes to allow KDHE to inspect every industrial facility, every gas station, every agri-chemical facility, every dry cleaner, every mile of pipeline, etc. etc. in this state on a regular basis. But that is not going to happen."

We could get a helluva lot closer than we are now with this sorry lot we got. The way they hire, and train their people are a mystery. By your statement we should just tell the folks "sorry we hired some of the dumbest and least motivated people we could find and we cannot protect you or enforce regulations because we cannot do so within budget with these people we hired (and cannot fire) so you will just have to settle and deal with burning houses, contaminated soil and groundwater fair citizen and taxpayer because we (KDHE) are not going to change". Great attitude.

You state:

"There is no conflict of authority here because KDHE is acting on behalf of the EPA to enforce the laws and regulations set forth by federal government. You are just completely wrong on this issue." ANd eralier you said "State law is only preempted by federal law if the federal law conflicts with the state law or the federal law specifically states that the federal law preempts. "

So which is it, you changed your mind, first the state answered to no federal law now it is on behalf of EPA. Dude you are the clueless one. What you again fail to accept is that KDHE's actions in the PRESTO (and other mistakes) are not "enforcing the laws as set forth by the Federal Government", and by doing so "are not in compliance with EPA regulations".

End of story. Just be quiet now you KDHE wonk. You are self contradicting.

And for the umpteenth time YOU ARE DEFENDING KDHE by SACRIFICING YOUR OWN ETHICS.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

I am not spreading "bad information here", you are however doing that very well. Your agenda is quite clear (are you Boog or a friend of his) protect KDHE by bagging on a critic and labeling him as having a grudge or agenda.

My personal "grudge" has nothing to do with this at all, but I can at least freely admit my motivations. You however,....

My point is you have no clue about what you are talking about. You are acting like the world is Kansas with fence around it, and it operates in a vacuum on its own. Not the case.

You stated:

"I see you backpedaling a bit there and going on about how the EPA can revoke that authority. That part is true... EPA can examine the program and determine whether or not KDHE is properly implementing the program but that wasn't the original argument. The argument is whether or not KDHE currently has proper regulatory authority in this situation and the answer is clearly "yes.""

Seems you are the one backpedaling. This is the 3 UST screwup in Lawrence by KDHE, and there are about 7 others that were under the radar screen. The program is NOT being "properly " ran. Period. End of Story

You stated:

"KDHE is largely a reactionary agency just like every other regulatory agency in this country."

No sorry. Why would the regulation require new installs of USTs and existing to have leak detectors to be installed? To be reactionary. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Are you stupid or insane? Theyh are NOT to be reactionary, reactionary costs a helluva lot more in clean up costs, than to PREVENT the POLLUTION.

WHICH is what the EPA madates and KDHE law is about, FIRST PREVENT pollution.

Reactionary my fanny. If you are a consultant, you should seek other employment.

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TeamPollution 7 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS, whoa there... simmer down... take a deep breath and relax a little bit. It is abundantly clear that you have an agenda here. I really don't care what you say about KDHE as far as that agency's competancy or its policies is concerned. You can call them names and rage against them all day and I won't argue with you.

Again, you fail to understand that the federal government has granted KDHE the authority to administer the Storage Tank program in Kansas. There is no conflict of authority here because KDHE is acting on behalf of the EPA to enforce the laws and regulations set forth by federal government. You are just completely wrong on this issue.

I see you backpedaling a bit there and going on about how the EPA can revoke that authority. That part is true... EPA can examine the program and determine whether or not KDHE is properly implementing the program but that wasn't the original argument. The argument is whether or not KDHE currently has proper regulatory authority in this situation and the answer is clearly "yes."

If you believe that KDHE is not properly enforcing the regulations and rules set forth in K.S.A and K.A.R. which have been approved by EPA, then you need to contact your local representative, the KDHE Storage Tank Chief, EPA Region 7 Administrator, and a governmental watchdog group of your choice. Knock yourself out!

You speak as someone who has done a lot of research and has learned a bit about environmental regulations, but who has little or no real experience. You also speak as someone who holds an obvious grudge against KDHE.

So tell me... why the grudge?

I'm not defending KDHE here, just trying to fight some bad information you're spreading in here. I have personally seen KDHE screw up a number of times. I've seen EPA screw up too.

KDHE does not exist to deal with contamination before it happens. KDHE is largely a reactionary agency just like every other regulatory agency in this country. We could fix that if we were all willing to double our taxes to allow KDHE to inspect every industrial facility, every gas station, every agri-chemical facility, every dry cleaner, every mile of pipeline, etc. etc. in this state on a regular basis. But that is not going to happen.

The one thing I agree with you about is your comment that KDHE needs to be overhauled. KDHE really needs to become a more effecient agency but that has to start at the very top of the state government. Maybe someday....

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 11 months ago

By the way, a Kansas icon has passed:

http://www.rivercitytalk.com/RCT/showthread.php?t=1249

Fellow, it was sure good to know ya!

Thank you.

Marion.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

The contamination was way above 100 ppm according to my measurements I made there. IT is above the level if it makes workers eyes burn. Again another KDHE coverup.

KEHD was supervising this as well and calling the short, and like the presto situation:

"did not realize the contamination spread so far."

That is the whole reason they exist, to find contamination to protect the public. They are NOT here to react to unrealized contamination that would have been obvious to any 1st year env. tech. BTW, the site was a listed Trust Fund site previously cleared.

Why did it still have contamination? HMMMM?

As I have presented here. KDHE does NOT care about the public, but always runs to protect the agency at the expense of information and the public safety.

They should be reformed drastically...or totally shut down and programs reverted to the feds.

What a bunch of maroons!

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

You need to visit the links I provided above, it is deja vu all over again.

From LJWORLD Sunday, August 11, 2002

Daniel Kellerman, district geologist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, called the dumping an oversight, but said it was a violation of state law. According to Kellerman, who was supervising the operation, city workers thought the soil was clean because it was taken from an excavation for the new tanks, separate from where the old tanks were being removed. City workers and Kellerman didn't realize contamination had spread so far.

After hearing from Murphy on Friday, Kellerman said, he conducted tests on the dumped soil and found petroleum concentrations of less than 100 parts per million, a level he said was used to guide how contaminated soil should be handled.

"He (a city employee) told me he got behind a truck and it was so bad it made his eyes water," Murphy said. After seeing where the soil was being dumped, the concerned resident found the telephone number for Friends of the Kaw and got in touch with Murphy. He started making inquiries.

From LJWORLD Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Murphy got on the telephone. He called Daniel Kellerman, district geologist for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, who already was familiar with the excavation. In fact, Kellerman already had tested the soil on Friday after receiving a complaint from a citizen and agreed that it was contaminated. However, he had decided the removal of the soil could wait until Monday and refused to change his decision based on Murphy's plea.

And although Kellerman acknowledged Saturday the soil was contaminated and that dumping it by the river was a violation of state law, he deemed it unnecessary to act immediately to reduce the environmental threat. The state laws regulating this sort of thing aren't in place simply so violators can be fined; they are intended to prevent and remedy environmental hazards. That should have been Kellerman's priority.

From LJWORLD Wednesday, August 14, 2002

State environmental officials Tuesday said proper procedures were followed in a chain of events that ended with several truckloads of contaminated soil being dumped last week near the Kaw River in North Lawrence

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

That is NOT what RCRA states, it isat the pleasure if the program is accepted and remains in compliance. KDHE has the authority as long as they run the program properly and in compliance with RCRA, but EPA can (and should) pull this program. Yes if ran "properly, the Sec. retains "authority" if not, he can loose the state program. How in the world would you consider this continued mistakes by KDHE as "properly"/ In what universe? If you don't know that just ask Lousiana and their asbestos program. They about lost it because of their Declaration of Emergency suspended Federal Asbestos laws and NO STATE HAS THAT AUTHORITY TO SUPERCEDE FEDERAL LAW, PERIOD. That would be the last section in of 266.66 I posted earlier, but here it is again:

"40CFR Ch.1 282.66

(b) Kansas has primary responsibility for enforcing its underground storage tank program. However, EPA retains the authority to excercise it's inspections under sections 9005 and 9006 of subtitle I of RCRA, 42 USC 6691d and 6691e as well as other statutory and regulatory provisions."

What part of that can you not read and comprehend???

I state again folks like you are championing incompetence and illegal activity by KDHE by compromising your own ethics. Very Good!

You are defending KDHE, but the laws are in existance NOT to protect the agency, but the public, and that clearly was not attained. Additionally, these folks in this part of town are going to have property devaluation, A LOT of inconvienence for quite a while, and generally hassel. They COULD possibly have some health issues.

Not once did I hear on this board the defenders of KDHE (Which is what you are doing because you are wrong on the response to a reported loss under RCRA, absoloutely wrong) worry about the folks.

They are the sole and only reason we have environmental, safety, and public health regulations and standards that KDHE does not follow.

Cryposporidium Outbreak? West NIle Virus Reporting?

We do not collect this information so some dummy can make a pretty graph, we collect this information to protect and INFORM the public WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS PROGRAM.

So the Sec. Really needs to reconsider his authority... and If he has competent people in his department.

The current and continuing answer is NO, not by a long shot.

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TeamPollution 7 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS, your continued assertion that KDHE lacks the authority to properly regulate storage tanks is simply incorrect and patently absurd.

I have already stated that I am defending no one in this situation, simply clarifing some points in this discussion. But hey, if you want to continue flailing about then by all means, knock yourself out.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

BTW, TeamPollution,

UR aware that in ongoing investigations by the state or other enforcement investigations that information is NOT to be releases, and is a misdemeanor under the Kansas State Regs? It is also grounds for termination of State employement? It is also grounds for a contractor to have his contract terminated. That is not YOUR information to divulge.

Care to let us know your identity.

Does the citizens of Kansas get the picture of the arrogance of KDHE and the ethics involved here in the light of incompetence.

Excuses, nothing but excuses.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Why are U the contractor or a contractor of KDHE?

I know the website, that is where I got the "Law" portion, and the site you reference states the generalities it is true 34 states and Kansas is one, but "full aothority and compliance" is for EPA federal to decide NOT KDHE. So you must have a dog in this race. Iread the part of at the descretion of the secretary, but that is in section (b), I was addressing the ability of the person to be included or excluded.

An wrong again, the owner is already liable, the Secretary's discretion has nothing to do with that, polluter poays, the descretion the secretary has is whether to pay or not.

Can you read? Are you a friend of Dan Kellerman's?

"KDHE themselves did not perform the pressure test on the tank system; it was done by a contractor."

ANd you know this new information just how? The article stated the KDHE personnel that KDHE did the test. Whether a contractor for KDHE did the test or not, it was at KDHE's direction.

Again, NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH RCRA. STATE LAW HAS TO BE AS STRINGENT AS THE FEDERAL. how many time do it have to be repeated. Alabama was still allowing lynchings, but the Feds dissallow it. What is your pointless point?!?!

"One would have to review the actual data in the file from this whole thing to make any rational conclusions as to why the test did not detect the leak."

Sounds like a KDHE wonk to me. Again, how do you know this. Besides, the test should NOT have been done, other tests were required under the Federal RCRA which this State Law is under.

Sorry chief, you need to get up earlier and open up a larger can of kick butt. Not doing it today!

Lost again.

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Multidisciplinary 7 years, 11 months ago

Is Kandis still in town? Taylor...is this a Taylor I should remember? They should have put in her high school picture for interest! LJW needed a pic-us-up today.

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TeamPollution 7 years, 11 months ago

The federal EPA has clearly granted KDHE the full authority to administer its Storage Tank Program. EPA has signed a Memorandom of Agreement with KDHE for the Storage Tank Program and EPA lists Kansas as one of 34 states in the country to have such authority.

There is no conflict between federal and state law here because KDHE is operating the Storage Tank program with full federal authority. Check out the EPA information page on the subject: http://www.epa.gov/OUST/fsstates.htm

K.A.R. 65-34-119 states that it is "at the discretion of the Secretary" as to whether or not the owner will be liable for costs associated with corrective actions. There is room for interpretation to that of course just like many other laws.

KDHE themselves did not perform the pressure test on the tank system; it was done by a contractor. One would have to review the actual data in the file from this whole thing to make any rational conclusions as to why the test did not detect the leak.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

KDHE is worse than FEMA and you have to try to get to that level of incompetence. THis is the gang that can't shoot straight because they are soo ignorant that they can't load the gun or pull the trigger.

This is from 2002 and the same KDHE and the same Dan Kellerman:

Here is why I am concerned:

See the big picture yet.

Again, this is what happens when a REGULATORY AGENCY tries to act like an ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT.

To the LJWORLD GUY, got your email message, I will be calling you tomorrow PM with some info. It will take you a while to get the story together.

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classclown 7 years, 11 months ago

At today's prices, I'd be trying to see how much gas I can squeeze out of the dirt. :P

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

According to the RCRA UST Subpart D in the Response to a Reported leak, the agency (KDHE) was not to do a leak test. There are about 7 tyhings to do and there was not "tank tightness testing" as a remedy. There was to be several types of invasive testing such as digging, monitoring wells, double wall testing etc.

UH-OH spanky! As I said, those in the position to know KDHE, do not know the federal regs by wihch the state regs are governed. Just because the state wrote a process it does not trump federal law by default, but only if it is more stringent.

Sorry guys, KDHE looses and the taxpayers pay instead of a petroleum company.

Good Job guys!

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Here is the problem with 65-34-119

" (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of K.S.A. 65-34,118 and amendments thereto, should the secretary find that any of the following situations exist, any or all owners or operators shall, in the discretion of the secretary, be liable for 100% of costs associated with corrective action necessary to protect health or the environment, if:

  (1)   The release was due to willful or wanton actions by the owner or operator;

  (2)   the owner or operator is in arrears for moneys owed, other than environmental assurance fees, to either the underground fund or the aboveground fund;

  (3)   the release was from a tank not registered with the department;

  (4)   the owner or operator fails to comply with any provision of the agreement specified in subsection (c) of K.S.A. 65-34,118 and amendments thereto;

  (5)   the owner or operator moves in any way to obstruct the efforts of the department or its contractors to investigate the presence or effects of a release or to effectuate corrective action;

  (6)   the owner or operator is not in substantial compliance with any provision of this act or rules and regulations promulgated hereunder; or

  (7)   the owner or operator allowed, failed to report or failed to take corrective action in response to such release, knowing or having reason to know of such release."

This means that KDHE Trust Fund has to pay for it. Presto called KDHE with a 2300 gallon short, so they were in full compliance.

Since KDHE came out and checked the tanks and if (d) applies all they have to do is go through section (b) on the process of application (you can thank me later Presto) but the folks cannot get reimbursement for their offsite damages.

Some good law here. BUT, I will be digging through the RCRA UST federal rules. We have already extablished that KDHE was almost 2 years late on getting this law through the legislature.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Looks like the state of Kansas blew it. The dateline of June 1994 with the updates. The history of the bill:

History: L. 1989, ch. 186, § 15; L. 1990, ch. 229, § 1; L. 1992, ch. 305, § 3; L. 1996, ch. 253, § 18; May 23.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

"40CFR Ch.1 282.66

(b) Kansas has primary responsibility for enforcing its underground storage tank program. However, EPA retains the authority to excercise it's inspections under sections 9005 and 9006 of subtitle I of RCRA, 42 USC 6691d and 6691e as well as other statutory and regulatory provisions."

Translation Kansas can have a program if they run it right and it passes inspections by EPA (meaning federal not just regional). I am sure this would not pass a federal EPA OIG investigation.

"(c) To retain program approval, Kansas must revise its approved program to adopt new changes to the federal subtitleI which make it more stringent...

(d)...Submitted to EPA in Kansas program application for final approval and approved by EPA on June 6, 1994"

DId they make changes AND were these approved prior to June 1994. I don't think so, but I am checking. That is why things are written down.

This tank was installed in 1978. Was/were owners/subsequent owners told to comply with older versions of the program or were they brought up to date? How did this tank slip through?

See lotsa questions. Now on to State rule. I will come back to Federal RCRA UST regs later and embarrass folks later on that one.

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TeamPollution 7 years, 11 months ago

Federal Register, 40 CFR Ch. I subpart 282.66 expressly creates the Kansas Storage Tank program and allows it to operate in lieu of the federal requirements.

KDHE programs such as the Storage Tank program have regulations which allows the department to conduct emergency operations when situations occur which are immediately dangerous to public health or the environment. An exploding apartment complex would, I believe, neatly fall into the category of immediately dangerous to human health. The Storage Tank trust fund can revisit the issue once the emergency has been abated to determine the exact financial responsibility of the parties involved. KDHE has the authority (indeed, the responsibility) to immediately respond to such situations. Unless of course you would rather wait for bid packages to go out to consulting firms while more houses exploded.

Technically, not all taxpayers contribute to the trust fund, just those people who buy petroleum fuel (save aviation gas) within the state (yes, that's a vast majority but not all). Further, the one-cent sales tax is only in effect when the fund drops below a certain level... I think that number is two million dollars but I'm not exactly sure of that figure. The fund was operating at a monetary level sufficient to not require the one-cent sales tax for several years until the fund was raided by the legislature a couple of years ago to help with the state's financial crisis. An interesting aside is that the storage tank program regulations prohibit the state from taking money out of the fund for any other purpose but the legislature did it anyway and thus implemented a de facto sales tax increase on petroleum products.

Not enough facts are available at this point to determine the viability of the lawsuit which has been filed. Negligence implies non-compliance with the law and if the station complied with all the rules and regulations associated with the storage tank program then there was no negligence. Whether or not a law suit can be brought against KDHE for failure to adequately enforce the rules and regulations of the storage trank program is another issue entirely.

And for the tinfoil hat brigade, I'm speaking as an environmental consultant who has worked with many different state and federal agencies over the years. I'm not defending KDHE, the gas station, or the residents... just trying to clarify a few things to help the discussion.

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DukeBilgewater 7 years, 11 months ago

I've got $100 that says the cleanup will be more than $1M.

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Prydain 7 years, 11 months ago

Most big cities have ordinances againest ASTs at retail locations. One of the reasons you don't see them at retail locations is the fire danger. I believe they are regulated by the state fire marshal.

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armyguy 7 years, 11 months ago

There are a lot of gas stations around the state with above ground tanks that have a concrete moat around them, most of them were built in the last 10 or so years. I don't see any like them in Lawrence.

Does any body know if there is a city code that prevents this type of system? Seems like if you have a tank above ground with a holding sytem, it would be a lot safer. You would also notice leaks right away.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

4jhawks,

Why are you trying to protect and defend KDHE?

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

4jhawks wrong again!

"State law is only preempted by federal law if the federal law conflicts with the state law or the federal law specifically states that the federal law preempts. Furthermore, your previous argument was whether the Kansas Trust fund may be used in this situation."

State law cannot be less strengent than the federal mandates. If what you stated above is true, there would have been no reason for the Civil war nor could the Southern states be held accountable for slavery.

What a DS UR!

You are the one that does not know about the Trust FUnd. I will be posting the real points of the Federal and State regs here after I get off work. You should be prepared to eat your words.

"Also, a state government cannot be sued for monetary damages in federal court under the 11th amendment of the Constitution unless the federal government has enacted a law permitting such suit. An equal protection violation does not permit a person to receive monetary damages, unless Congress expressly permits it. It certain situitions, the Congress has permitted it, it doesn't apply here.

A govewrnment al entity can only be sued if they have consented. Criminal charges may be brought against a person who has broken a criminal law. Unfortunately, "Failure to enforce the laws" is not a viable cause of action."

Wrong again. Check People V. Christine Todd Whitman and People v. Sec. Leavitt.

Both are suing the ferderal and state govt's and getting damages and loss compensation.

You lost again.

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Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 11 months ago

not to interrupt the arguing, but does anyone know how "old" is an old gas tank? These specific ones had been there since 1978, right? Nearly 30 years underground seems like plenty long for something to develop a leak. But I haven't read anything about how long they're supposed to last.

Thanks.

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Dani Davey 7 years, 11 months ago

No you don't, Kate, there is a law office directly across the street from the gas station, and yes, they've already done work on that building.

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katethegreat 7 years, 11 months ago

I live directly across the street from this station. I wonder if they will have to do anything to my house.

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bankboy119 7 years, 11 months ago

gr,

Limiting the number of stations won't put the price any higher. They already conspire to keep prices where they are now, that's why you only find $.02 difference.

If people are really concerned about the profits the oil companies making then they need to make a statement. If people would ONLY use one or two companies then the others would be forced to drop their prices. Once the prices are dropped, people could use them forcing the other companies to follow suit. Unfortunately, people do not come together so it's just wishful thinking.

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Sandra Willis 7 years, 11 months ago

Um ... I used to work for Kwik Shop ... openings, afternoons, and the graveyard shift, all the time. When we had a large difference between the amount of gas we recieved and the amount in the tanks ... we would measure it twice; or ask the Manager to measure it again. Once we had the delivery driver check to make sure that he had actually pumped in as much as he said he had. bodan

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gr 7 years, 11 months ago

For all you sue-happy people, maybe you can create such a hostile environment that there will be very few gas stations in Lawrence to compete with one another and maybe they can raise the price 50 cents a gallon to pay for litigation.

All of you bad-mouthing KDHE, I hope you keep this in mind that it's the same agency who thinks vaccinations do good. http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/2006/Apr_15/Scandal79.htm

Kind of makes sense why they want to keep the mumps cases isolated from vaccinated individuals....

And from John Hopkins, http://www.jhunewsletter.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/05/05/445bb44122a56 "About half the cases in Iowa involved college students, and most of these students had been vaccinated prior to the infection." "Even among students who have gotten two doses, approximately five to 10 percent do not develop protective antibody levels."

If someone can account for 1700 gallons, would you trust their advice on something much more complex? Were those gallons within the 'non-relevant' 10% range? Much better to get a harmless disease such as mumps than to worry if you will come down with a much worse case later in life.

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4jhawks 7 years, 11 months ago

It is apparent that you are not an attorney but beleive blindly you understand the rule of law. State law is only preempted by federal law if the federal law conflicts with the state law or the federal law specifically states that the federal law preempts. Furthermore, your previous argument was whether the Kansas Trust fund may be used in this situation.

"The trust fund is NOT for NEW leaks (after 1996). The tanks should have been evaluated and monitored. To clean up new leaks is on the dime of the Oil company. THAT is the regulation FEDERALLY, no matter what those flat land yahoos at KDHE think. They are seriously wrong."

The Kansas trust fund was established for siutations like this. Federal protection still applies, but the use of the trust fund is solely Kansas law.

Also, a state government cannot be sued for monetary damages in federal court under the 11th amendment of the Constitution unless the federal government has enacted a law permitting such suit. An equal protection violation does not permit a person to receive monetary damages, unless Congress expressly permits it. It certain situitions, the Congress has permitted it, it doesn't apply here.

A govewrnment al entity can only be sued if they have consented. Criminal charges may be brought against a person who has broken a criminal law. Unfortunately, "Failure to enforce the laws" is not a viable cause of action.

Furthermore, I never suggested that I was defending anyone's actions, only stated that you were wrong regarding the Kansas trust fund. It appears you may be wrong elsewhere as well.

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4jhawks 7 years, 11 months ago

It is apparent that you are not an attorney but beleive blindly you understand the rule of law. State law is only preempted by federal law if the federal law conflicts with the state law or the federal law specifically states that the federal law preempts. Furthermore, your previous argument was whether the Kansas Trust fund may be used in this situation.

"The trust fund is NOT for NEW leaks (after 1996). The tanks should havebeen evaluated and monitored. To clean up new leaks is on the dime of the Oil company. THAT is the regulation FEDERALLY, no matter what those flat land yahoos at KDHE think. They are seriously wrong."

The Kansas trust fund was established for siutations like this. Federal protection still applies, but the use of the trust fund is solely Kansas law.

Also, a state government cannot be sued for monetary damages in federal court under the 11th amendment of the Constitution unless the federal government has enacted a law permitting such suit. An equal protection violation does not permit a person to receive monetary damages, unless Congress expressly permits it. It certain situitions, the Congress has permitted it, it doesn't apply here.

A govewrnment al entity can only be sued if they have consented. Criminal charges may be brought against a person who has broken a criminal law. Unfortunately, "Failure to enforce the laws" is not a viable cause of action.

Furthermore, I never suggested that I was defending anyone's actions, only stated that you were wrong regarding the Kansas trust fund. It appears you may be wrong elsewhere as well.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Not quite 4Jhawks.

The Kansas Rules are promulgated on the basic requirements of the Federal Laws and refer to them routinely, as does the 65034 does of which 114 is just one section of the "whole" requirement of regulation. You cannot look at the 114 portion and call it good.

You can sue the soveriegn immunity because Christine Todd Whitman is getting sued for the same thing on ground zero, "Failure to enforce their laws", and a 5th admendent to the consititution "equal protection" clause.

It states that the rule must be equally applied, you cannot sue a gas station for rules that KDHE violated. Also, you have to protect all equally, and a governmental entity does not enjoy an exemption of the law. If that were true Jim Crowe laws would be OK.

YES, a governmental entity can be sued and criminal charges can be brought forward in cased of property damage, injury and death if they are negligent, or do not fill their statutory responsibility.

It is not easy to do, but it is legally acceptable.

State laws cannot be less strengent than the federal regulation mandates. Period.

Your failure to understand that and blind allegience to KDHE is laughable and indefensible.

EOS

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4jhawks 7 years, 11 months ago

Asbestos, you have a lot of knowledge on this subject, but I believe that you are talking about the federal envirnomental laws and fund. Kansas has its own fund that is designed to finance the clean-up. Also, the state can re-coup some money from the Presto after the clean-up. The statute is section 65-34,114, which provides that the state can use the funds for emergency action or to reimburse the owner/operator for some funds expended. It does not reimburse them for the entire amount nor does the owner/operator get "out of jail". The owner/operator is subject to civil penalties and re-coupment of the funds.

Also, you can't really sue the KDHE, because they are probably an arm-of-the state and have sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Let's see META? EMR? REMS? ERM? PSI? B&R? Associated? ALl Temp? B & B? Kingston?

Who do you work for?

"Earlier you talked about insurance for KDHE, why? From my experience state and federal gov. takes an observational approach so they can avoid being sued everytime something like this happens."

IF KDHE is going to do consulting work or contract admin, they most definately do need the insurance. As for the Observational approach, that has NOT been KDHE's policy. Most of their policy is "We are the Consultant" We cannot let those Environmental COmpanies make money off a public health issue (Courtesy from Dir. Hammerschmidt).

"If you have info on KDHE please share!!! Why keep a major peice of news like that bottled up. Saying you have a big secret and not sharing it is kind of discredible in my eyes."

Still collecting info and getting it professionally reviewed by some very high level professionals that are located outside of EPA Region 7 and KDEH influence. That takes time and money. Of which I am willing to spend to correct a majorly out-of-control agency that is NOT doing their jobs.

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Rhoen 7 years, 11 months ago

Is there any way to salvage any of that gas!? It's worth WAY more now than when it went into the dirt!

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Topside 7 years, 11 months ago

no need to ruin a perfectly good box of crayons. I just don't put much stock in informatin I gather from one biased website.
I don't work at KDHE, but I do work in Asbestos. If you have info on KDHE please share!!! Why keep a major peice of news like that bottled up. Saying you have a big secret and not sharing it is kind of discredible in my eyes. It makes it hard to believe. Maybe you are a disgruntled public servant yourself.

Earlier you talked about insurance for KDHE, why? From my experience state and federal gov. takes an observational approach so they can avoid being sued everytime something like this happens.

And maybe that is the real problem everyone in both private and public agencies spend so much time doing CYA do avoid multi-million dollar law suits in this lawsuit-happy culture of ours that things can fall through the cracks. Obviously we can't expect the current federal admin. to get stricter on env. laws either.

I will go and read the LJW story about what KDHE did or didn't do, but forgive me if I don't put full trust in what a paper says. Especially the LJW. My mother was a public sevant and if I had a dime for every time she was misqouted or misrepresented, ESPECIALLY by the LJW then I could pay for this clean up myself and have enough left over for a hot-dog and slushie.

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feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

I do have a personal connection. You came out at attack them for thier suit without knowing the parties involved or the details of their loss. The tone of your first post is quite antagonistic, and thus provoked a response in kind.

"additional profit by claims of psychological damage, emotional trauma, etc. The loss was material. Noone was harmed or killed. The compensation should be for the material loss. Nothing more."

This assumes that insurance payments cover cost.

Further, the US court system defines a tort is an injury to someone's person, reputation, or feelings or damage to real property. Compounding this is that Kansas still, to my knowledge, follows the Collateral-source rule, which prevents a defendant in a tort claim from presenting payment to the plaintiffs from insurers as evdience against the tort.

If you have an issue with the suit or torts, take it up with your local state rep. That said, I'd love to know why you think you have the authority to decree who should get what and be allowed to seek compensation or what and from whom.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Jrlii,

If you ask for records under the KORA, the discussions of the processes and regulations on the implementation of the regulation. The oil industry, and muncipalities were afraid that the smaller towns would loose their gas stations. What they did mnot recognize is that this is a "user fee" and they end up paying it anyway either through the trust fund or the increase in operational costs passed on through increased fuel prices.

it was a no-brainer and appeasement. Same thing we are hearing today. My axxe is getting very shiney!

You will find that the "expense" was a major issue with none other than KDHE. EPA would like to see double walls. Most of the DOD sites (outside of Kansas) reguire the installation of double walls, but not in Kansas.

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Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

Feeble, you apparently have some sort of personal connection to this as you wouldn't be attacking me and accusing me of being "self-righteous". You're right, I don't know these people. I am saddened to hear what happened to them. However, it appears as if they're trying to make an additional profit by claims of psychological damage, emotional trauma, etc. The loss was material. Noone was harmed or killed. The compensation should be for the material loss. Nothing more.

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jrlii 7 years, 11 months ago

Somehow I have always been skeptical of statistical inventory reconciliation as a method of leak detection because it is subject to interpretation. Unfortunately it is one of the most common. A persistent leak in the round-off error can eventually add up to a honking lot of gas.

In this most green minded of cities, why don't they require double wall tanks and lines for positive leak prevention? Is there state or federal preemption? Or has it just never come to mind?

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Sorry Topside. I will get out my crayons.

It is an example as to what happens when the State, Federal, and City enforcement of environmental regulations break down because of slothfulness or arrogance or the regulators. We are paying for services not being rendered, and the services we are receiving are clearly not professional nor are they ethical.

If this is an axxe to gring the so be it.

Topside, you must know someone who works at KDHE or you work for KDHE. Sorry. But the Agency is broken.

Stand by for more news in about a month.

Then you will see an axxe fall.

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feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

above comment directed at Raider.

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feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

You've admitted you don't know the plantiff or care about his situation. People had had their lives ruined by this tragedy, you have no business attacking thier actions. Presto has already said they would "make things right." The actions taken by the Capps and Mr. Johnson will hold them to that claim.

Your opinion on this topic is obnoxious and without merit. How about you go post about roundabouts or some other inane topic.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Again, the trust fund is for cleaning up OLD leaks and spills, and fund the program to identify past leaks and to retrofit and survey the tanks being used. All tanks to be used for storage were supposed to be identified and evaluated by 1996. And they were to have leak detection. That soulc be tightness testing, interstitial monitoring (double wall tanks) and or inventory monitoring, and or the electronic active stystem.

The trust fund is NOT for NEW leaks (after 1996). The tanks should havebeen evaluated and monitored. To clean up new leaks is on the dime of the Oil company. THAT is the regulation FEDERALLY, no matter what those flat land yahoos at KDHE think. They are seriously wrong.

I wonder how ole "Boog" is going to respond to this one. For the public or for KDHE?

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Topside 7 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS really has an axe to grind. I would like to like to know what asbestos in Illinois has to do with an undergound storage tank problem in Kansas?

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Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

Feeble, I can understand suing for lost property, wages, etc. But adding the "phsycological damages" is just greedy. I couldn't imagine losing everything I own. I don't pretend to empathize with this man. However, that is what they sell renter's insurance for. If you rent a property, and you don't carry insurance, then you run the risk of not having your things replaced if your rental unit is destroyed. Suing for "phsycological damage" is just a way to try and get extra money.

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feeble 7 years, 11 months ago

Radier: "And the guy suing for "phsycological damage"? Get real. He's suing for greed. He should be compensated for lost property, and some relocation expenses nothing else. I'll bet you $100 that when he turns his property list in, he says he had $10k worth of electronics, jewelry, cash, fur coats etc. All this in a cheap $400/mo apartment. Pure greed."

I'm glad to know you know Curtis Johnson so well. I imagine loosing all of your worldy belongings as well as your pets, save for your car and a change of clothes, might not seem like that big of a deal to you, but many off us would be distraught.

Were you there the day after the fire, posting up missing pet signs and watching the remenants of your life being bulldozed in the ground? I think not. What is your real interest here, what is fuelling your misguided and "righteous" post? Ignorance or self-interest?

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Kookamooka 7 years, 11 months ago

Can the taxpayers sue Presto to reimburse the trust fund?

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GardenMomma 7 years, 11 months ago

I did read the previous articles and yes, I see that Presto reported the loss; bravo to them. I was just wondering why they accepted the accounting oversight as a valid reason. I also wanted to know what sort of error it was reported to be. Was it a miscalculation? An over-calculation or an under-calculation? Was something posted into the wrong account? Was the inventory misrepresented?

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conservative 7 years, 11 months ago

Why is everyone complaining about the use of the fund to pay for the cleanup? That is exactly what the fund is there for. The insurance that presto has should cover the property costs of those that lost their home. Up until now nothing has been reported that indicates that Presto did anything other than follow the rules to the letter. They reported missing gasoline and had the appropriate people come out and investigate. Last week it took days for the investigators to find a way to make the tanks leak. Now if something comes up in the future to indicate that Presto was somehow hiding the facts then yes I agree that they should responsible. But until this point everything seems to indicate that they did exactly what they were supposed to do, and did it in good faith.

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Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

Gardenmomma, aparently you have some sort of chip on your shoulder this morning. Did you not read in the previous articles that Presto reported the loss of fuel to KDHE? Did you also fail to see in the previous articles where KDHE is the one who told Presto there was not a problem, the fuel wasn't leaking, and it was their accounting problem?

REEK, why shouldn't that money be used for cleanup? If you do a little research you will find that the $1mil trust fund is something that the state requires each gas station to carry. The station pays into this trust fund as well as we do. The reason they pay into it is for situations like this.

As far as the litigation against Presto goes: It's the result of some sue-happy, ambulance chasing, sheister of a lawyer getting over anxious, and wanting to be the first one in line. The insurance companies usually pay for this. They just have to have time to work out the details. The attorney in this thing decided to be an overacheiver and sue before any investigations are complete. I'm sure they (lawyers) were lined up for blocks just to get a crack at a case like this. This is just like the case with Boardwalk Apts. Greedy sheisters jumping the gun.

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allateup 7 years, 11 months ago

I know someone working on hauling away contaminated dirt. Each load is costing close to $500 to dump. And she was told that they lost 6000 gallons of fuel.

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Prydain 7 years, 11 months ago

The petro fund may not reimburse the expenses incurred by Presto. It's up to the board of the fund to decide if and how much money they get back

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DaREEKKU 7 years, 11 months ago

Is nobody else pissed that OUR money is paying for this?

"To pay for the cleanup, the station will be allowed to use the Kansas Petroleum Storage Tank trust fund, a taxpayer-funded account that pays for state cleanups of tank leaks."

That money shouldn't be used for cleanup, it should be used for the victims! Hold the corporations responsible for the costs themselves! These people lost all that they had, and most likely they didn't have renter's insurance. Use the money for the victims temporary well being and hold the corporations responsible for the cleanup costs. They are reporting record profits as it is, they can afford it....

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GardenMomma 7 years, 11 months ago

I find it incredibly odd that 2300 gallons (see previous article) can go missing and it is blamed as an accounting oversight/mistake. First of all, I'd like to know what accounting mistake it was. Did someone "forget" to record some sales? Did someone record a wrong number? Sounds like someone knew what was going on and didn't care too much. Are the owners that rich that they can afford to lose gallons and gallons of liquid gold (i.e. gasoline sales)? Or do they just not give enough of a hoot about the environment to take the necessary steps to keep their inventory from leaking into the ground?

I also don't like the statement about Presto getting to use the Kansas Petroleum Storage Tank Trust to pay for the clean up. Isn't that why the store should carry insurance? If Presto has a million dollar policy and clean ups rarely cost that much, why should tax payers pay for it?

As for the litigation against Presto, that's also for their insurance to cover. Surely Presto should have liablilty insurance for this kind of litigation in addition to property insurance which should cover tank storage, etc.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 11 months ago

Raider:

I was not under the impression that some 1700 gallons had been reported!

I also suspect that there has been leakage in the past which was not reported due to the area which is contaminated.

I could be wrong; that happened once!

Thanks.

Marion.

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gphawk89 7 years, 11 months ago

"The station is required to carry a $1 million insurance policy" Only $1M??? That won't go very far in today's lawsuit-happy society. I carry twice that much in liability coverage alone (and I live in an apartment).

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Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

And Marion, I usually respect your comments but you're off the mark on this one. Presto is not involved in some conspiracy/cover-up. They reported the fuel shortages to KDHE. They did their job. How is that a cover-up?

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Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

SUE! SUE! SUE! Let's bankrupt Presto! Let's destroy them!

Keep in mind that they DID realize there was an inventory shortage, and they DID report it to KDHE. KDHE did nothing. They told them it was a result of bad accounting on their (Presto's) end.

It amazes me how KDHE is spinning this one so that they have no responsibility at all. The settlement in this should be part responsibility of KDHE.

And the guy suing for "phsycological damage"? Get real. He's suing for greed. He should be compensated for lost property, and some relocation expenses nothing else. I'll bet you $100 that when he turns his property list in, he says he had $10k worth of electronics, jewelry, cash, fur coats etc. All this in a cheap $400/mo apartment. Pure greed.

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nonimbyks 7 years, 11 months ago

"30,000 gallons of gas-laden water and 1,700 gallons of pure fuel from trenches near where the underground tanks were, Kellerman said. " This problem affects many blocks! What the h*!! And the company has only ONE mill in insurance? That's going to bun out fast. I wonder, will there be a study on the damage to the property values on existing properties in the area?

Note to self: Don't buy a property in this area of Lawrence.

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cowboy 7 years, 11 months ago

Presto should be out writing fat checks right now , what jury at a trial will not award a huge settlement.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 11 months ago

Back in the 70s I managed a string of service stations and tire stores.

We knew if we had lost seven gallons much less 1700!

Presto has known for a long time and has been covering up; end of story.

Thanks.

Marion.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh and by the way if you believe that the state and feds would never screw up risk public health and not admit it, go to this site.

www.asbestosbeach.com

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jayhawk166 7 years, 11 months ago

How can the KDHE not find a leak that is big enough for 1700 gallons of fuel to leak out of it. I would hope that someone who checks fuel tanks for leaks for a living would be able to spot a leak this big.

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betti81 7 years, 11 months ago

the voice: they did notice it and reported it (see earlier articles). the KDHE came out and tested for a leak and could not find one, so they blamed it on bad accounting.

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The_Voice_of_Reason 7 years, 11 months ago

Here is a thought... Don't gas sations monitor how much gas they sell and how much they recive? If that is true how could 1700 gallons go missing and no one know about it? I don't know about everyone but I would think a business owner would notice $4,000 in missing fuel sales...

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Ragingbear 7 years, 11 months ago

Note to self, stamping out ciggarette may be hazardous to your health....

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