Circle K & Holiday Stationstores Fined Over Underground Storage Tanks

A settlement agreement also requires the replacement of systems at additional locations.
Angela Hanson
Circle K

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Circle K Stores Inc. and Holiday Stationstores LLC face a $200,000 civil penalty for failing to properly test, report, and fix or replace corrosion protection equipment between 2019 and 2022 at five gas station and convenience store sites owned by the companies, according to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation.

The stores are located in Northfield, Owatonna, Pine City, Rochester and Walker, Minn.

The companies will also have to spend a minimum of $3.25 million on environmental projects within the next year, according to a settlement agreement.

[Read more: Circle K Rolls Out One-Day Fuel Promotion in Gulf Coast Region]

The storage tank equipment in question is known as cathodic protection and is designed to protect older underground tank systems from corrosion that can increase the chance of leaks and petroleum releases to area soils and groundwater sources, the MPCA said. Operating permits require companies to test corrosion protection equipment at least annually; report failed tests to the MPCA within 30 days; and fix or replace equipment within 60 days of any failed tests.

MPCA staff inspections in 2022 found that the five Circle K/Holiday Stationstores sites documented between one and six failed tests that were not reported; neither was the equipment repaired.

The companies will pay at least $3.25 million to replace underground tank systems at five other locations in Beaver Bay, Crosby, Duluth, Forest Lake, and Ortonville, Minn., by the end of 2024. The MPCA selected these locations based on their proximity to nearby bodies of water as well as the age of their systems. 

Circle K and Holiday Stationstores have already completed necessary repairs or placement of corrosion protection equipment at all five locations where violations occurred and agree to properly report and respond to any future failed tests, the MCPA reported.

Circle K is the global banner of Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which operates in 25 countries and territories, with more than 14,400 stores, of which 10,800 offer road transportation with fuel. Couche-Tard Inc. acquired Holiday Stations Inc. and certain affiliated companies in 2017.

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