California Attorney General Rob Bonta and five county district attorneys on Friday announced an $8 million settlement with Safeway regarding alleged violations of environmental laws at its 71 gas stations across the state, including in the Tri-Valley.
The settlement, which along with the attorney general included the district attorneys of Contra Costa, Solano, San Joaquin, Sacramento and Placer counties, came after an investigation that found the grocery chain failed to install, implement and operate various spill prevention and other safety measures regarding underground fuel storage tanks dating back to 2015.
The violations included failing to install and maintain automatic line leak detectors, secondary containment systems, not monitoring and conducting required testing of the underground storage tanks, and not properly notifying local agencies after the release of a hazardous substance.
The Safeway gas stations involved in the case included one each in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and San Ramon.
As part of the settlement, Safeway will pay $7.5 million in civil penalties, including $600,000 to fund environmental projects, as well as $500,000 in investigative costs.
"California has strong regulations in place to prevent oil and gas from seeping into the ground and contaminating our drinking water," Bonta said. "The reality is: Accidents happen. Without proper safety measures in place, an avoidable crisis can become an environmental catastrophe."
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said her office "is committed to the prevention of environmental hazards like fuel spills and holding companies accountable to laws regulating such things as underground storage tanks. The collaborative effort between the AG's office and my fellow district attorneys -- along with Safeway's cooperation -- resulted in this comprehensive environmental compliance settlement."
Officials with Safeway were not immediately available for comment on the settlement.
Editor's note: Embarcadero Media editor Jeremy Walsh contributed Tri-Valley details to this story.