CarMax to pay $119,440 for alleged Clean Water Act violations at Mo. store

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CarMax Inc. has reached a settlement with the EPA over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s store in Independence, Mo., the EPA said Monday.

The used-vehicle retailer has agreed to pay a $119,440 fine after “thousands of gallons of gasoline” were discharged into a nearby creek because of a corroded pipe attached to a petroleum storage tank, according to the agency. The storage tank is used to fill up the store’s vehicles.

CarMax neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The company said it followed correct protocols to quickly remediate the problem following the accidental discharge.

The company became aware of the leak into the creek in July 2019 and notified the EPA’s National Response Center and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the EPA said in its order.

About 19,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the facility into Camp Creek and could have started as early as April 2019, according to the order.

The agency said CarMax “failed to fully prepare, implement and/or update” its Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure plan at the Independence store, as required under the Clean Water Act.

“Facilities that store 1,320 gallons or greater of oil products in aboveground storage tanks are subject to Clean Water Act regulations that require, among other things, proper containment to contain oil releases, inspections of tanks and piping and integrity testing of oil storage equipment,” the agency said in a news release. “EPA alleges that CarMax failed to comply with these requirements and that such noncompliance contributed to the discharges to Camp Creek.”

CarMax spokeswoman Jennifer Bartusiak said in a statement to Automotive News: “CarMax is committed to environmental stewardship and has fully cooperated with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to address the accidental release of fuel caused by a broken underground fuel line.

“When CarMax discovered the issue in July 2019, we immediately notified appropriate regulatory agencies and followed their protocol to remediate the discharge as quickly as possible.”

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