State Settles Counties’ Lawsuit Over Leaking Underground Tanks

The California Department of General Services has settled a lawsuit filed by the counties of Sacramento and Alameda alleging leaking underground storage tanks have created a public health hazard.

The Sacramento Bee reported on the lawsuit last week.

The Sacramento County district attorney’s office has sued a state agency alleging that storage tanks are leaking hazardous substances under several downtown buildings, including the state Capitol.

The lawsuit, filed [April 2] in Sacramento Superior Court against the California Department of General Services, alleges the leakages are also happening in Oakland. It was filed jointly by Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho and Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.

These allegations have been going on for years. In the late aughts, General Services was fined thousands of dollars for underground storage violations. In 2014, former Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully was granted an injunction in a similar lawsuit. According to Sacramento and Alameda counties, the state has been violating that 2014 order.

As part of the settlement, General Services will pay $2.26 million to Sacramento and Alameda counties. The agency will also be required increase health and safety precautions, including conducting more frequent inspections and providing regular reports in compliance with California law.