PIQUA — A Piqua gas station currently is facing pending litigation from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in regard to its drinking water.
Starfuel, located at 5580 N. County Road 25-A, has received violation notices from the Ohio EPA, which is being represented by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The Ohio EPA’s website currently lists a drinking advisory for Starfuel. The reason for the advisory is listed as “contamination” and the contaminant is listed as “Total Coliform Bacteria.” The advisory was first issued on July 14, 2015.
Starfuel has its own well system and is not connected to the Piqua Water System’s line, which ends before where Starfuel is located.
Notices of violation from the Ohio EPA in regard to Starfuel were addressed to Roman Singh of Starfuel — Piqua and Premium Petroleum Inc. in New York. According to one of those notices, “Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful bacteria may be present.”
The Ohio EPA also sent a notice of violation on Jan. 13, 2016, that stated that water samples taken during June 2015 “have confirmed the presence of E. coli/fecal coliform in the drinking water. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.”
It is unknown if the water is still contaminated, as the Ohio EPA has issued numerous other notices of violations to Starfuel for failing to sample the drinking water for total coliforms as required for March through May in 2015, July 2015, and September through December 2015. Notices of violation were also sent to Singh for failing to monitor Starfuel’s drinking water for nitrate and/or reporting the results from January 2015 to March 2015, July 2015 to September 2015, and October 2015 to December 2015.
The Ohio EPA released the following statement on Wednesday in regard to Starfuel’s water:
“Starfuel has closed and locked the restroom and posted an out-of-order sign, so the public is not using or consuming water from the facility. We continue to regulate Starfuel as a public water system and require them to comply with applicable regulations, including all required sampling. New notices of violation can be incorporated into the ongoing enforcement action. However, because there is pending litigation, additional questions should go to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.”
A representative from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office explained that there was a lawsuit filed against Starfuel in 2013 relating to underground storage tanks and Starfuel’s operation of drinking water and septic system. In order to add charges and defendants, that lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed. The new lawsuit is expected to be filed with the Miami County Common Pleas Court within the next month, at which time the charges and defendants will be public record.
The latest correspondence sent from the Ohio EPA to the tax mailing owner of Starfuel on March 1 covers the Ohio EPA’s Holding Tank Inspection of Starfuel. The inspection was held on Jan. 5, 2016. The findings of the inspection provided by the Ohio EPA include:
• The Ohio EPA does not have a record of a holding tank permit or management plan for this facility, and therefore, this is an unpermitted holding tank.
• Appropriate signage was not provided.
• A high water alarm was not present.
• No records of holding tank pumpouts or hauler information were readily available.
• There was no sign of an overflow from the holding tank.
The letter also referenced Ohio EPA letters dated March 30, 2007, and Aug. 12, 2008, stating that “Starfuel Piqua is required to connect to the accessibly available public sewers and abandon the unpermitted holding tank.”
While the Ohio EPA is requiring Starfuel to connect with the city of Piqua, the letter also notes that “the condition and their permit status of the holding tank need to be addressed.”
The Daily Call has been unable to contact the owner of Starfuel.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall