Oil giants Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips will have to pay $11.5 million in fines after a California state judge approved the settlement of a lawsuit that charged the companies with violating hazardous-waste laws.
Both companies agreed to pay the charges.
The two companies failed to properly dispose of hazardous waste at over 560 gas stations in 34 counties across California, according to California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Underground gasoline storage tanks, used to hold gasoline sold to the public, were inadequately maintained, according to Harris.
The complaint, originally filed by the state in 2013, alleged that Philips 66 and ConocoPhillips failed to properly maintain leak-detection devices, test secondary containment systems, conduct monthly inspections, train employees in proper protocol, and maintain operational alarm systems.
Harris said that the two companies threatened nearby water supplies since 2006 and that this settlement “holds Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips accountable for this dangerous negligence and will ensure future compliance with environmental laws.”
The companies have since sold almost all of their interests in the underground tank sites in California, said Harris.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said that when corporations fail to comply with environment laws and regulations it is important that they are held accountable.
“When corporations place our valuable water resources in jeopardy by failing to comply with environmental laws and regulations, they must be held accountable,” O’Malley said.
The two companies will pay $9 million as penalty, $1 million will go towards environmental projects, and $1.5 million will be paid to cover the legal costs incurred.