The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Monday ordered a gas station in Taoyuan County’s Jhongli City (中壢) to pay NT$3.36 million (US$112,800) to 19 households as compensation for damage caused to their real estate by oil and gas leaks.
The agency said oil and gas leaks were detected at the station in 2009, causing serious ground water contamination, and as a result the local government listed the area as a groundwater pollution control site.
Nearby residents contacted the EPA’s public nuisance dispute mediation committee, saying that the leakage caused a decrease in the value of their real estate and left them without usable groundwater.
With the agreement of the gas station and the residents, the administration used the real-estate appraisal mechanism, asking real-estate appraisers to assess whether the value of real estate in the area had been affected by the case.
The appraisal results showed that although the pollution site has been decontaminated, the public nuisance dispute has caused damage to real-estate prices due to psychological factors, so the committee ruled that the gas station should be held responsible for compensating the residents’ losses, it said.
If the gas station is dissatisfied with the committee’s decision, it can appeal to the Taoyuan District Court, the committee added.
Committee chairman Lin Fou-lai (林福來) said it was the first case in which the committee had ruled on compensation for the loss of real-estate value, as previous cases were only made for damage to aquaculture or crops.