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State fines two cities, Argyle gas station

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

State environmental officials approved a default order this week assessing a fine to the owner of an Argyle convenience store and ordering the gas pumps to be padlocked. In addition, they approved agreed orders fining two area cities for violating state water quality rules.

The owner of Johnny Joe’s in Argyle was fined $10,806 for three violations related to operations of its underground petroleum storage tanks. The city of Lewisville was fined $6,750 for two violations following a water leak that eventually flowed into Timber Creek where a fish kill occurred in May 2012. The town of Lakewood was fined $8,082 for four violations related to the operation of its sewer treatment plant in 2012.

In Argyle, state records showed investigators visited the Johnny Joe’s convenience store in January and May 2012 and found the business violating state rules for underground petroleum storage tanks. Specifically, the business did not have corrosion protection on its system and didn’t test the system for leaks. Investigators also noted that the owner didn’t comply with a request to produce records required by the state.

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State records also showed the store owner did not respond to investigators’ requests to come into compliance over the next several months, a requirement to prevent a shut down order. As a result, the commissioners approved a default order that, in addition to assessing the fine, directs the pumps be padlocked.

“They can’t sell gas anymore until they meet the requirements of the order,” said Andrea Morrow, commission spokeswoman. The order also affects the store’s certificate with distributors, she added, “so they won’t be able to buy gas either.”

The store’s owner, Raihan Chowdhury, did not return a call for comment.

Lewisville Assistant City Manager Steve Bacchus said that although the water that flowed in the creek was fresh water, it was chlorinated and lead to the fish kill.

State records showed that between 2 million and 2.5 million gallons of water flowed into a tributary of Timber Creek near Old Orchard Lane and Creekview Drive on May 1, 2012. Investigators found that the spill killed about 230 fish.

The city took corrective actions, including removing the dead fish and marking the water valve to prevent future incidents, records showed.

In Lakewood Village, the city learned after the fact that a contractor servicing its sewer plant was not submitting the required paperwork that documents discharges from the plant, according to City Secretary Linda Asbell.

The city has since hired a new contractor, she said.

State records showed the town has completed three corrective actions required by the agreed order.

In all, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality levied $1,175,956 in fines against 78 regulated entities during its regular meeting Wednesday in Austin.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter @phwolfeDRC.