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Summerland Gas Station Operators Accept Environmental Protection Action

Summerland Gas Station Operators Accept Environmental Protection Action

Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Joyce E. Dudley, District Attorney, announced today that her Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit settled a Civil Action against Summerland Market, Inc. and Elian Mtanous Hana, former operators of underground storage tank (USTs), at the Summerland gas station on Lillie Avenue.

The case was brought to light by Santa Barbara County Certified Unified Program Agency’s (CUPA) inspections that revealed numerous violations of state law relating to the operation of USTs containing petrol, handling of hazardous material and management of hazardous substances. The civil complaint, filed in December 2018, alleged unlawful conduct for nearly five years. It began in August 2013. The alleged violations include operating a UST without the required CUPA permit, disabling the automatic leak-detection system, not keeping leak-detection sensors in a position to detect leaks at the earliest possible opportunity, failing to test the secondary-containment system in a timely manner, failing to annually certify the leak-detection monitoring equipment, unlawfully disposing hazardous waste, and failing to establish and implement a Hazardous Materials Business Plan. These alleged violations occurred only one month after a prior civil action was settled by the District Attorney against the same defendants for $30,000 civil penalties (Santa Barbara Superior Court. Case No. 1414393).

A Final Judgment by Stipulation was entered on March 17, 2022 to resolve the case. The following provisions are included in the Final Judgment

  • $165,000 in civil penalties.

  • Santa Barbara County CUPA reimburses $4,037.50

  • Injunction ordering defendants comply with environmental laws.

District Attorney Dudley stated that these repeated violations were committed despite an enforcement action. The defendants’ apparent disregard for the safety of our community showed a pattern that repeatedly threatened the safety and well-being of the public, employees, first response personnel, and the environment. Our office will continue to protect the community from the dangers associated with underground storage tanks, hazardous materials and hazardous waste.

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