Officials at BP Plc units allegedly instructed some gas stations in California to position leak detection sensors so they were unable to detect leaks at the earliest possible opportunity, state prosecutors alleged in a lawsuit.
The BP units including Atlantic Richfield Co. were sued by the California Attorney General’s office and seven county district attorneys over claims they violated environmental laws by failing to inspect and maintain underground storage tanks at 780 gas stations in the state. The complaint was filed today in state court in Oakland.
Since 2006, BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America Inc. and ARCO tampered with or disabled leak detection devices, failed to test secondary containment systems and didn’t conduct monthly inspections or maintain operation alarm systems, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in an e-mailed statement.
“The majority of these alleged incidents are procedural violations concerning documentation,” BP said in an e-mail. “A small number of alleged violations relate to the monitoring of tanks. None of the alleged violations posed any harm to human health or the environment.”
BP addressed the issues as soon as it learned of alleged violations, the company said.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the company to comply with state law and unspecified civil penalties. California filed a similar lawsuit against ConocoPhillips in January.
The case is California v BP West Coast Products, RG13665900., California Superior Court, Alameda County (Oakland).