September 2014 Enforcement Action Summary

Formal Enforcement Actions Issued
Formal Enforcement Actions Settled or Resolved
Superior Court Actions Issued
Superior Court Actions Settled or Resolved

This report includes formal enforcement actions issued or resolved by the Office of Compliance & Inspection for the month of September 2014. This report is intended to inform the public of certain compliance/enforcement activities performed in the preceding month to protect the public's health, safety, welfare and the environment.

Formal Enforcement actions are taken to achieve compliance with law/regulations; remediate environmental damage; restore natural resources to appropriate conditions; impose penalties that capture the gravity of the situation and any economic benefit gained by the alleged violator; and deter similar actions in the future. Formal enforcement is generally in the form of a Notice of Violation ("NOV") that alleges certain facts and violations, contains orders to resolve the alleged violations, contains an assessed penalty with supporting documentation regarding what factors RIDEM used to determine the penalty, and, by law, allows a respondent the ability to appeal or contest the NOV to the Department's Administrative Adjudication Division ("AAD"). Since most NOVs are contested cases, RIDEM does not generally discuss the case with the public while the matter is awaiting hearing or pending negotiated settlement. NOVs are subject to release under the Access to Public Records law in Rhode Island. A copy of an individual NOV may be obtained through RIDEM's Office of Customer and Technical Assistance. The OC&I often resolves formal enforcement actions through negotiated settlement agreements prior to hearing before the AAD.

Media inquiries should be addressed to Gail Mastrati at 401-222-4700 ext. 2402. Requests for file reviews should be emailed to dem.filereview@dem.ri.gov. More information is available at www.dem.ri.gov/programs/customertech/file-review.php. Please note that formal case names appearing in blue text are linked to a PDF version of the unsigned document.

Formal Enforcement Actions Issued:

September 29, 2014 - Underground Storage Tank File No. 2014-30-01679 re: Joseph Najm, Josephine Najm and Johnston Gas, Inc. for property located at 1209 Hartford Avenue, Assessor's Plat 20, Lot 32 in the town of Johnston. The property includes a service station and a motor fuel filling station and 2 underground storage tanks (USTs or tanks) used for the storage of petroleum products (facility). Joseph Najm and Josephine Najm own the property. Johnston Gas, Inc. operates the facility. The OC&I alleges that the Respondents are in violation of the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials (UST Regulations). The violations pertain to the failure to: investigate a release of petroleum; perform inventory reconciliation and leak checks; and ensure that a Class A or Class B UST facility operator conducted monthly inspections from December 2013 through March 2014. On July 16, 2001 the RIDEM received a site investigation report for the property. The investigation revealed that groundwater on the property had levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that exceeded the RIDEM's groundwater quality standards. On January 7, 2002 and January 22, 2007 the RIDEM issued letters to the Respondents that required the Respondents to implement a quarterly monitoring program and submit quarterly analytical reports (Quarterly Reports) to the RIDEM. On June 18, 2013 the RIDEM issued an informal written notice to the Respondents for failing to submit the Quarterly Reports. The notice required specific actions to correct the violation. On April 16, 2014 the OC&I inspected the facility. The inspection revealed that the facility failed to comply with operational requirements related to inventory and leak detection reconciliation and certified operator inspections. On April 18, 2014 the OC&I issued an informal written notice to the Respondents for the operational violations. The notice required specific actions to correct the violations. As of the date of the NOV, the Respondents have failed to respond to or comply with the notices issued on June 18, 2013 and April 18, 2014. In the NOV the OC&I ordered the Respondents to achieve compliance with the RIDEM's UST Regulations. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $8,750.

September 29, 2014 - Underground Storage Tank File No. 2013-180-03479 re: Robert Picciotti d/b/a Seville Associates and Seville Associates for property located at 229 First Avenue, Assessor's Map 6A, Lot 118, Unit 8 in the city of Woonsocket. The property includes a former mill building and underground storage tank (UST or tank) used for the storage of petroleum products. Seville Associates owns the property. Seville Associates was originally formed as a Rhode Island General Partnership. Robert Picciotti is the only surviving partner of the partnership. The OC&I alleges that the Respondents are in violation of the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials (UST Regulations). The violations pertain to the failure to properly abandon the UST. On March 1, 2011, November 18, 2013 and March 27, 2014 the RIDEM inspected the property. The inspections revealed that the mill building was destroyed by fire and that the UST was still in place and no longer in use. Also, the Respondents have not paid the required UST annual registration fees to the RIDEM for calendar years 2005 through 2014. On March 7, 2011, May 24, 2011, June 8, 2011 and September 20, 2013 the RIDEM issued informal written notices to Robert Picciotti for the violation. The notices required specific actions to correct the violation. As of the date of the NOV, Mr. Picciotti has failed to respond to or comply with the notices. In the NOV the OC&I ordered the Respondents to achieve compliance with the RIDEM's UST Regulations. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $7,873.

Formal Enforcement Cases Settled or Resolved:

September 4, 2014 - Underground Storage Tank File No. 2013-131-00613 re: Mohamed Amer and MCA Enterprises, Inc. for property located at 514 Greenville Avenue, Assessor's Plat 48, Lot 356 in the town of Johnston. The property includes a convenience store, a motor fuel filling station and underground storage tanks (USTs or tanks) used for the storage of petroleum products (facility). Mohamed Amer owns the property. MCA Enterprises, Inc. operates the facility. On February 14, 2014 the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondents alleging that the Respondents violated the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials (UST Regulations). The violation pertained to the failure to submit a completed Compliance Certification Checklist, Certification Statement Form, and Return to Compliance Plan (collectively, the Compliance Certification Forms) for the underground storage tanks at the facility. On or about March 8, 2013 the RIDEM issued a letter to all registered UST owners/operators that required the owners/operators to inspect their facility and complete and submit the Compliance Certification Forms by June 30, 2013. On or about July 10, 2013 the RIDEM sent a second written notice to all non-compliant registered UST owners/operators requiring submission of the Compliance Certification Forms by July 31, 2013. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondents to inspect the facility and submit the completed Compliance Certification Forms to the RIDEM within 30 days. The Respondents were previously cited by the OC&I for this same violation in a formal notice that was issued on November 23, 2010. The Respondents and the OC&I entered into a consent agreement to resolve the formal notice. Given the prior history with the Respondents for this same violation, in the NOV the OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $4,000. The Respondents did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The Compliance Certification Forms were submitted to the RIDEM and the penalty was paid in full, which resolved the NOV.

September 16, 2014 - Underground Storage Tank File No. 2013-65-00577 re: DARC Realty, LLC and DARC, Inc. for property located at 400 Main Street, Assessor's Block 113, Parcel 497 in the town of Tiverton. The property includes a service station, a car wash, a motor fuel filling station and 3 underground storage tanks (USTs or tanks) used for the storage of petroleum products (facility). DARC, Realty, LLC owns the property. DARC, Inc. operates the facility. On February 11, 2014 the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondents alleging that the Respondents violated the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials (UST Regulations). The violations pertained to the failure to: maintain inventory control records; have a list of all Class C UST facility operators assigned to the facility available; verify that the UST facility operators on duty at the time of the inspection had been properly trained; and verify that the Class A or Class B UST facility operator performed monthly inspections. On September 10, 2013 the OC&I inspected the facility and documented the violations. In the NOV the OC&I ordered the Respondents to achieve compliance with the RIDEM's UST Regulations within 45 days. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $6,000. The Respondents did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The OC&I received documents demonstrating that the facility is now in full compliance with the RIDEM's UST Regulations and the penalty was paid in full, which resolved the NOV.

September 16, 2014 - Dam File No. 549 (Asa Pond Dam) re: Town of South Kingstown for property located approximately 1160 feet southeast of the intersection of Curtis Corner Road and Asa Pond Road and approximately 780 feet east of Asa Pond Road in the town of South Kingstown. The property includes a dam and associated spillway. The dam is classified by the RIDEM as High Hazard. The Respondent owns the dam. On August 4, 2014 the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Dam Safety. The violation pertained to the Respondent's failure to maintain the dam in a safe condition. The dam was inspected on July 31, 2013. The inspection revealed that the primary spillway approach, the channel downstream of the spillway and the channel downstream of the low level outlet were overgrown with vegetation that may impact spillway capacity and proper functioning of the low level outlet. The inspection also revealed excessive vegetation on the downstream slope of the embankment within 15 feet of the toe of the dam that did not allow a proper inspection to be performed. The OC&I considered the dam unsafe because of the vegetation that may impact spillway capacity and the low level outlet and vegetation that inhibited a proper inspection. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondent to remove the vegetation, retain a professional engineer to inspect the dam, and submit a report to the OC&I of his/her findings, including any specific actions necessary to return the dam to a safe condition and a schedule to complete the work. The OC&I did not assess an administrative penalty. The Respondent did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The Respondent fully complied with the NOV to resolve the case.

September 24, 2014 - Solid Waste File No. SW 2013-6 re: Mohamed Y. Sasa and Rhonda A. Sasa for a property located off of Pine Grove Avenue, Assessor's Plat 46, Lot 39, Lot 40, and Lot 41 in the town of Johnston. The Respondents own the property. On July 23, 2013 the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondents alleging that the Respondents violated Rhode Island's Refuse Disposal Act. The violation pertained to the depositing on the ground and burial of approximately 351 cubic yards of solid waste (including about 2630 tires) consisting of televisions, bottles and cans, used tires, metal waste, and other mixed solid waste. OC&I inspected the property on August 18, 2011, January 15, 2013 and July 22, 2013 and documented the violation. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondents to cease the disposal of solid waste on the property and remove and properly dispose of the solid waste at a licensed solid waste management facility. As the solid waste is deposited in or adjacent to freshwater wetlands, the Respondents were further ordered to meet with RIDEM prior to undertaking any work and comply with any instructions from RIDEM regarding work within the freshwater wetlands. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $6,250. The Respondents did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The Respondents fully complied with the NOV and were able to demonstrate that the solid waste was historic in nature and not disposed of by the Respondents. The solid waste extended onto property owned by another property owner and the town of Johnston. The Respondents, the other property owner and the town of Johnston properly excavated and removed the solid waste, which resulted in the removal of approximately 50,000 tires. Given the historic nature of the violation and the work undertaken by the Respondents to remove the waste, the OC&I agreed to waive the administrative penalty assessed in the NOV, which resolved the case.

Superior Court Actions Issued:

None issued this month.

Superior Court Actions Settled or Resolved:

None settled or resolved this month.