Keeping gas stations safe

The Baltimore Sun

Randy Childs

Environmental compliance director

Carroll Independent Fuel Co., Baltimore

Salary: $55,000

Age: 38

Years on the job : 14

How he got started : After leaving the military, Childs began working at Carroll Independent Fuel installing equipment at gas stations. He later managed the warehouse and eventually went into sales and marketing. He has been at his current position for about 18 months.

Typical day: A new computer system installed by Carroll Independent Fuel at the beginning of the year allows Childs to do about 90 percent of his work from his office. He estimates he puts in at least 50 hours a week. Childs' job is to ensure that all 84 gas stations operated through Carroll Independent Fuel meet federal, state and local environmental regulations. The computer system allows him to track, scan and store various compliance documents. It also sends e-mails and alerts when tests are needed.

Childs said there are about 25 different checks for each station, so a good portion of his job is taking daily reports and making sure all the numbers check out. If any of the numbers don't match up or are out of line with state standards, the Maryland Department of the Environment might need to be contacted.

"My job is to make sure all those documents are completed and tests are performed and everything is in compliance," Childs said. "The last thing I want is a call from MDE. If I don't hear from them, that means I'm doing my job."

Only about 10 percent of his time is spent in the field, but he said he enjoys the days he can get out and check on stations in person.

"That's my therapy. I get to go out, meet a lot of dealers and direct them in compliance issues."

Strict state: California is known as having the strictest standards for gasoline regulations in the country. Maryland and Florida are close behind, Childs said.

MTBE: Methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive that can contaminate ground water, has been removed from most of Maryland's gasoline as of 2006. But the state has pointed to some gas stations as the source of some area contamination. Childs does not work directly with MTBE contamination cases at the stations he oversees. If a problem is found, it is handed off to a third-party environmental engineering firm.

The good: "The diversity of the job. It's one thing after another, and you get fired on from all sides."

The bad: "Being the guy who has to say, 'You have to get this fixed or we'll shut you down.'"

Consultant: Besides the 84 stations that Carroll Independent Fuel operates or leases, the company supplies gasoline to an additional 120 stations throughout Central Maryland. Although the company is not responsible for compliance issues at these stations, Childs is available as a resource for thosse station owners who mlight have questions about environmental standards, equipment problems or upgrades.

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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