The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) has finished its inspection of the nation’s gas stations and announced that 20 stations must close because of poor safety conditions, improper permits and other problems.
For safety reasons, however, the stations cannot cease operations until their fuel storage tanks are empty, the ministry said in a statement this week. The inspections focused on safety measures, infrastructure, spill control and employee training (TT, Feb. 2).
The nationwide inspection began three months after two children burned to death inside their mother’s car after the pump they were parked next to at a Shell station in Escazú, southwest of San José, exploded (TT, Nov. 3, 2006). Investigations into the Oct. 29, 2006, accident revealed the fire was likely caused because an employee was changing a filter in the same pump from which a vehicle was being fueled. The station was not equipped with a required emergency shutoff switch (TT, Nov. 10, 2006).
The gas stations that will close are Servicentro Daytona and Servicentro La Sabana, both in San José, Servicentro La Central, in Heredia, north of San José; Servicentro Cutris, in San Carlos, in northcentral Costa Rica; Servicentro Managua, in the central Pacific beach town of Quepos; Servicentro Zenén Ruiz e Hijos, in San Ramón, northwest of San José; Servicentro Ciudad Quesada, in the north-central city of the same name; Estación de Servicio Hermanos Sánchez Víquez, in the Central Valley town of Grecia; Servicentro Las Ruinas, in the city of Cartago, east of San José; Repuestos La Bomba Ltda., in Palmares, northwest of San José; Total Alajuela, in Alajuela, north of San José; Gasolinera Río Tempisque, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste; Servicentro Las Marías, in the northern Heredia canton of Sarapiquí; Bomba Filadelfia, in Guanacaste; Servicentro Cariblanco, in Sarapiquí; Servicentro Playa Naranjo, in Guanacaste; Estación de Servicio Santa Gertrudis, in Grecia; Estación de Servicio Jorco, in Aserrí, south of San José; Disgas del Norte, in Santa Cruz, in Guanacaste; and Gasolinera Chachagua, north of San Ramón.