Como Lube & Supplies to pay $50,000 in penalties for storage tank violations in Duluth

Contact: Lucie Amundsen, 218-302-6600

Como Lube & Supplies, Inc., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for violations related to operating and maintaining storage tanks at its Duluth facility. An MPCA inspection at the company, which packages and distributes lubricants and collects and recycles used oil, revealed a number of violations related to maintaining its tanks.

Businesses that store petroleum products or other chemicals in tanks must follow specific rules, inspection schedules, and operating practices to ensure tanks do not corrode. The MPCA found that the company had many tanks with excessive corrosion, did not have an adequate corrosion protection system on four tanks, didn’t have the required overfill prevention systems on 17 tanks, and failed to supply certain required documentation to the MPCA.

The MPCA inspector also noted instances in which tanks were removed from service, and the permittee failed to sample for contamination underneath the tank as required.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.