North Star Paving & Construction pays $130,000 penalty for Safe Drinking Water Act violations in Soldotna, Alaska

News Releases from Region 10

03/11/2021

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with North Star Paving & Construction, Inc. for violations of federal drinking water protection laws at the company’s paving and construction business in Soldotna, Alaska.

EPA alleges that North Star violated the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control regulations aimed at protecting groundwater sources of drinking water. An unauthorized underground injection well, also known as a Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well, was located on North Star’s property. To resolve the violations, the company has agreed to pay a penalty of $130,000 and permanently close and decommission the well.

EPA’s compliance investigation found that North Star failed to safely maintain, and failed to properly decommission, an unauthorized underground injection well at the company’s auto repair shop. As of April 2000, all new construction of Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells were banned. Subsequently, all existing Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells in Alaska were required to be permanently closed by January 2005, to protect groundwater and drinking water sources.

Vehicle shop floor drains flowing into underground wells have the potential to contaminate areas identified by the State of Alaska as drinking water source protection areas. An injection well could allow motor vehicle fluids -- and toxic chemicals or metals such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, and lead-- to contaminate groundwater sources of drinking water. North Star’s injection well was located above a protected drinking water aquifer for a community water system in Soldotna.  EPA’s preliminary groundwater sampling at the property found elevated concentrations of chemicals from motor vehicle fluids.

“Safe and clean drinking water is one of our most precious natural resources. Unauthorized injection wells can be a severe threat to underground sources of drinking water that many communities depend upon,” said Ed Kowalski, EPA’s Director of Enforcement and Compliance in Seattle. “We’re committed to making sure all well owners comply with federal rules to protect drinking water and people’s health.”

Learn more about EPA’s work to protect underground sources of drinking water, at:  https://www.epa.gov/uic

EPA’s Region 10 serves communities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 Tribal Nations. Learn more about EPA’s work in the Pacific Northwest at: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-10-pacific-northwest.

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