A new report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira probing the safety and environmental procedures implemented in gas stations in Israel's cities in 2011-2012, found that in the greater Tel Aviv area – the country's largest metropolitan area – they are directly responsible for increased air, ground and water pollution.
The report found that in 2011-2011, the City of Tel Aviv had jurisdiction over 62 gas stations, holding millions of gallons of gas, diesel and petrol; but the comptroller's review came up with "a bleak picture indicating a grave lack of safety mechanisms," including expired permits, failure to adhere to environmental regulations
and – at some – failure to adhere to fire safety regulations.
The comptroller chided the City for allowing some 13 stations to continue their operations despite having repeatedly failed fire inspectors' reviews.
According to the report, gas stations emit fumes that exacerbate air pollution and can be detrimental to the area's residents; and that some stations have failed to adhere to the Environmental Protection Ministry's directive to install fuel vapor absorption systems, or have installed ones that fail to meet the ministry's standards.
The report also leveled criticism at the ministry's Tel Aviv district department, for failing to devise a periodic review plan for the area's gas stations, and for conducting reviews at only nine stations that carry diesel – out of 49 in the area.
Similar criticism was leveled at the municipal environmental department, for failing to conducts its own reviews of the city's gas stations and for failing to follow up on various complaints filed by the residents on the matter.
The report further found that in many stations, the mechanisms meant to prevent ground and water pollution were either inadequate or faulty. Soil pollution was found in 35 out of 50 stations, and underground water
pollution was found in 15 of those 35.
"Both the Environmental Protection Ministry and the City failed to put in place a plan for periodic reviews of gas stations; nor have they reviewed any of the monitoring mechanisms required by law," the report said.
The comptroller said that the City must "take the necessary steps, including shutting down" the stations that fails to meet the reviews; adding that the Environmental Protection Ministry "Must create a periodic review schedule for the gas stations and follow the implementation of the recommendations made in their regards, to ensure that any air and water pollution is stemmed."
The City of Tel Aviv said that "All of the inner city gas stations have already been decommissioned. As for the commercial gas stations, those that any failed to meet the fire inspectors' review had their license suspended… The City conducts rigorous inspections for all gas stations to ensure that they meet all fire safety regulations."