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A. H. GROVE & SONS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/16/82)

decided: November 16, 1982.

A. H. GROVE & SONS, INC., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMNTAL RESOURCES, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Environmental Hearing Board in the case of A. H. Grove & Sons, Inc. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources, No. 79-205-W.

COUNSEL

Daniel W. Shoemaker, with him William H. Poole, Jr., Shoemaker, Thompson & Ness, for petitioner.

Louis A. Naugle, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 35]

This is an appeal by A. H. Grove & Sons, Inc. (Grove) from an adjudication and order issued by the Environmental Hearing Board (Board) modifying

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 36]

    and affirming an administrative order issued by the Department of Environmental Resources (Department). We affirm.

In 1973 and 1974, the Department conducted an investigation of domestic water supply wells in Felton Borough, York County in response to residents' complaints of pollution. The Department determined that several wells in the area were contaminated with gasoline, oil and solvents. The investigation revealed that the contaminated wells were in a line from the property of A. H. Grove & Sons and that the Groundwater flow sloped from the Grove property toward the affected wells. Grove operated an automobile service station and dealership on the property, used and sold petroleum products, and stored them in subsurface tanks. The Department also found an area on the Grove property where waste oil and material which had been used to absorb waste oil had been discarded. In response to a request by the Department, Grove agreed to stop disposing of oil absorbent material containing waste oil on the property and to pump empty an old gasoline storage tank.

During 1979, the Department again conducted an investigation in the area of the Grove property because of complaints from the residents. The investigation revealed gasoline and oil contaminants in residential wells. The Department considered the possible sources of the pollution in the area and concluded that the Grove dealership was the most probable source of the contamination of the neighboring wells, but could not determine the precise cause. In August of 1979, the Department issued an order directing Grove to abate the discharge of any gasoline, oils or other contaminants and to arrange for and perform hydrostatic pressure tests on the gasoline storage tanks. The Department also directed Grove to dig four backhoe pits or test borings on the property to the depth of the

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 37]

    water table. On appeal, the Environmental Hearing Board found that the Department had proven groundwater contamination and established Grove's operation as the most probable source. The Board concluded that the Department had authority to order reasonable testing at Grove's cost to establish the extent of the pollution, but would not, however, permit the required testing to be more extensive than was clearly mandated by the evidence, and saw no reason for Grove to incur the cost of the hydrostatic pressure tests at this time.

Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law*fn1 determines the scope of our review of Environmental Hearing Board ...


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