Edgewood auto shop fined for false statement on tank inspection report

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced Thursday that John R. Pasquinelli Enterprises, Inc., operator of an Edgewood auto repair and tire store, pleaded guilty earlier this week to making a false statement in a 2011 underground storage tank system compliance inspection report.

On Monday, Harford County District Court Judge Mimi R. Cooper imposed a fine of $10,000 with all but $5,000 suspended and placed the corporation, which conducts business as J.C. Discount Tires, in the 2100 block of Pulaski Highway, on probation for one year, according to Maryland's online court database.

"A failing underground gasoline tank poses a unique threat to the drinking water and overall health of the surrounding community," Gansler said in a news release announcing the plea. "Regular inspections of these facilities help prevent the safety risks and great expense that follows when gasoline seeps into the soil and eventually the water table."

According to the news release, the company's false report was discovered by the Maryland Department of the Environment after a discrepancy was observed between the report submitted by a company hired to do the testing and the report ultimately submitted by Pasquinelli Enterprises.

The testing company had been told by the defendant not to perform a test on the facility's "catch basin," also known as a spill bucket, the news release states; however, the testing company's report had been altered by the defendant to show a passing test for the "catch basin."

An investigation revealed that the facility's first record of "catch basin" testing was performed in 2008, the release states. At that time, the "catch basin" for the regular gasoline tank fill port had failed. The next record of testing received by MDE was in 2009 when three spill buckets failed, according to the release, which also states that no testing results were received for 2010.

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