SPRINGFIELD | A Cook County Circuit Court judge imposed a record default judgment in the amount of $386,000 against the owner of a closed Chicago Heights gas station.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal announced the award in a news release Friday.
The owner, Redevelopment Enterprises Inc., was alleged to have ignored an administrative order by the OSFM in 2011 to remove three 37-year-old underground petroleum storage tanks from the property, according to court records cited by the OSFM in the announcement.
The tanks posed a risk to public safety due to the potential for explosion and environmental contamination to soild and water, the release stated.
The property, a Marathon gasoline station closed since 2008, is located at 201 E. Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights.
Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy imposed the penalty and ordered the tanks removed following a hearing Dec. 20, according to the OSFM.
"This case sends a message to gasoline station owners and other petroleum storage tank proprietors who ignore state regulations and orders," State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis stated in the release.
Proceeds from the judgment will be entered into the Illinois Underground Storage Tank Fund, which is used to support underground storage tank enforcement efforts. Funds are also allocated to support the Illinois Environment Protection Agency's corretive action program responsible for cleaning contaminated sites in the state.