On March 19, 2009, we filed suit in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County, Ala., on behalf of Susan Turner for damages to her property, incurred as a result of a leaking underground storage tank. Defendants include Chatham Oil Company, Inc., and Alabama Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Trust Fund. The lawsuit alleges an underground storage tank located at Speedmart Fuel Center in Tuscaloosa, owned by Chatham Oil Company, Inc., incurred a leak, releasing gasoline and related products, contaminating the soil and groundwater on the property. In August 2007, Mrs. Turner noticed a strong odor of gasoline on her property, and saw a gasoline sheen on surface water on her property.
After testing by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), it was determined that gasoline has contaminated the soil, surface water and groundwater. Soil samples also indicate the presence of hazardous materials such as Benzene, Ethyl Benzene, Xylene and MTBE, in quantities that exceed the allowable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).
The Defendants had a duty to make sure that petroleum products stored in the underground storage tanks were secure. They also had a duty to adequately install, monitor, inspect, test, evaluate, assess, repair and maintain the UST, which they failed to do. Defendants are responsible in damages under the theories of negligence, wantonness, trespass, nuisance and strict liability. Alyce Roberston, Rhon Jones and Chris Boutwell will handle this case for our client.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are about 625,000 underground storage tanks nationwide that store petroleum or other hazardous substances. According to EPA regulations, it is the responsibility of an owner or operator of an underground storage tank system to take immediate action to stop the release of petroleum or other hazardous substances from the UST and to ensure there is no threat to the safety of people located in the area of the release. Studies indicate that one gallon of petroleum can contaminate one million gallons of water, and that one pin-prick size hole in an UST can leak 400 gallons of fuel per year. Gasoline, leaking from service stations, is one of the most common sources of groundwater pollution. For more information, visit www.leaking-storage-tank.com.