A Kennewick-based compliance company named Petco, short for Petroleum Company, was issued a $2,700 fine in February for performing underground storage tank services in Milton-Freewater without a license from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

In May 2021, the compliance company performed line tightness and line leak detector testing on an underground storage tank system without proper state licensing at a new gas station at the First Stop Mart at 85713 Highway 11 in Milton-Freewater.

Owner Michael Clark said in an interview that he believed that he was doing the work within Washington state, but later learned that the new gas station site was “50 feet” south of the border.

While Petco Incorporated is licensed to operate in Washington and other states, Oregon’s DEQ required an additional license, he said in an interview. After learning of the issue, he said that his company immediately obtained a DEQ license in June 2021.

“Ten, 11 months later, they send me a big old fine in the mail,” Clark said. “A $2,700 fine in the mail for being in Oregon by 50 feet trying to do the right thing.”

Petco Incorporated is currently in discussions with the DEQ about the fine, according to Dylan Darling, an agency spokesperson.

Clark bought the business from the previous owner around four years ago, he said, but the company has been incorporated in Washington state since the late ’80s.

Emry Dinman can be reached at emrydinman@wwub.com or 425-941-5829.

Reporter covering agriculture, Walla Walla city and county government, and other topics.

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