Presto Chain Fined for Fuel Leak

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Presto Chain Fined for Fuel Leak

06/15/2006
ANDOVER, Kan. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has levied a $4,900 fine to Presto Convenience Stores because a fuel leak at its Lawrence, Kan., location is suspected to have caused an apartment fire that left four residents homeless.

Ron Hammerschmidt, director of the Division of Environment at the KDHE, told the Lawrence Journal-World that $2,000 of the fine will go to the Lawrence-Douglas County Household Hazardous Waste Program.

According to Hammerschmidt, clean-up efforts have cost the KDHE almost $500,000, and it appears almost all the gasoline has been removed from the location.

In an effort to prevent future fuel leaks, Presto will upgrade its tank-monitoring equipment and manager training starting at the four stores in Lawrence, and then the remaining 37. The upgrades will include installation of "observation tubes" in stores that don't currently have them.

"Since this whole thing started, we've done everything we could possibly do," Doug Wald, vice president of Presto, told the Lawrence Journal-World. "It was never our intent to harm the environment. We've learned from this and, hopefully, it will never happen again."

According to Hammerschmidt, Presto is the eighth convenience store to be fined this year by the KDHE for fuel leaks.