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More than 600 facilities could be out of compliance in Mississippi

Deadline for upgrading storage tanks not extended

A recent announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led to the mistaken impression that the deadline for upgrading underground gasoline storage tanks has been extended in Mississippi. But the EPA announcement regarding inspection priorities for underground gasoline tanks doesn`t affect the state.

“There are no extensions,” said Kevin Henderson, manager of compliance and enforcement for the underground storage tank program for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). “I want to make that very clear. There are going to be stiff penalties if stations are found operating out of compliance. Penalties of up to $10,000 per day are allowed under the law.”

DEQ will enforce the Dec. 22, 1998 deadline for complying with regulations requiring upgrading of gasoline storage tanks to prevent contamination of groundwater and dangerous overfills such as one that killed five people at a Biloxi store in 1998.

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