Meyers gas station closed from MTBE leak |

Meyers gas station closed from MTBE leak

Andy Bourelle

One of the gas stations suspected of having leaked MTBE into South Shore groundwater has been shut down for continuing to be out of compliance with county regulations, according to the El Dorado County Department of Environmental Management.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office assisted county officials on Aug. 28 to require the closure of the Meyers Beacon station, said Valerie Kauffman, senior environment health specialist for the county.

“It’s in the best interest of Tahoe and everyone else who uses our water,” Kauffman said.

Inspectors visited the gas station on Aug. 11 and found numerous violations, Kauffman said. On Aug. 27, a follow-up inspection was conducted and the station still was out of compliance.

In addition to the violations, the monitoring system for the double-walled tanks had been turned off, she said.

The monitoring system is in place to detect leaks, and when there is a leak from the primary to secondary tank, an audible and visual alarm goes off. When the alarm is triggered, gas stations are required to notify the appropriate regulatory agencies of the possible leak.

Kauffman said the monitoring system was turned back on, and “it appeared to be in alarm,” indicating there may be a current leak.

Officials from the gas station are in the process of submitting a work plan to comply with county regulations, Kauffman said.

Two of the South Tahoe Public Utility District’s drinking water wells were shut down in September 1997 because of MTBE contamination. The MTBE plume is believed to have come from previous leaks from the Meyers Beacon, located in the 3200 block of U.S. Highway 50.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a cleanup and abatement order in March for the contamination and has imposed an $84,000 fine against the station’s owner, the J.E. Tveten Corporation.

In 1996, the corporation spent approximately $350,000 to retrofit the station with double-walled underground storage tanks and a secondary containment system to comply with state requirements. The corporation currently is involved in litigation against the contractor who installed the system and the manufacturer of a defective part.

A $100,000 grant from a state emergency fund has been given to Lahontan to clean up the Beacon contamination. However, the cost of the cleanup likely will exceed that amount.

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