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Lakeport Landing Settles With State Over 2021 Fuel Line Break

Published Tuesday Sep 12, 2023

Author Adam Drapcho, The Laconia Daily Sun

Lakeport Landing Fuel

The fuel dock at Lakeport Landing on Paugus Bay. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

LACONIA — Lakeport Landing Marina owner Erica Blizzard has agreed to a settlement deal with the state of New Hampshire that includes a $100,000 fine relating to a complaint about a fuel line break.

Per the terms of the agreement in Belknap County Superior Court, Lakeport Landing did not admit to the facts presented in the case, and $35,000 of the penalty will be suspended for 10 years as long as the marina, headquartered in Lakeport on Lake Winnipesaukee's Paugus Bay, follows laws and rules for underground fuel storage.

According to a press release issued late last week by the Office of the Attorney General and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Blizzard violated the Underground Storage Tank Act this summer when employees of the marina severed a fuel line while working on a dock.

The state asserts the fuel line break occurred on or around Aug. 30, 2021, and the marina failed to notify DES in a timely manner. The state also alleges that employees of the marina repaired the line to continue dispensing fuel. Finally, Blizzard was also accused of interfering with the state’s investigation until she was presented with evidence of the break and unauthorized repair on Sept. 17, 2021.

Once she was made aware of the state’s findings, according to the press release, Blizzard then agreed to cap the fuel line so that a proper repair could be made.

Blizzard did not return a phone call for comment placed on Monday.

Lakeport Landing

Lakeport Landing. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

This is not the first time Blizzard has has been charged with wrongdoing by the state. In 2008, she was piloting a boat on Winnipesaukee when it crashed into rocks, causing serious injury to herself and a passenger, and causing the death of Stephanie Beaudoin, also a passenger at the time of the crash.

Then, in 2010, the day after she was convicted of negligent homicide for her role in the crash, Blizzard was fined for driving 84 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 93 and, distracted by her cellphone, nearly striking a state trooper who was standing on the side of the road and waving at her to pull over.

Patricia Tarpey, president of the Lake Winnipesaukee Association, declined to comment on the agreement, but said that fuel contamination is a serious threat to the health of Lake Winnipesaukee.

“Fuel leaks introduce harmful hydrocarbons and other chemicals into the water, which can affect the water quality and harm aquatic life,” Tarpey said. “Chemicals in fuel, such as benzene and toluene, are toxic to aquatic organisms, and can disrupt the food chain and harm fish, amphibians, and other wildlife. There is no specific minimal amount of fuel that can be discharged into a freshwater lake without harming aquatic life, as even small amounts of fuel can have detrimental effects on the environment. As a drinking water source for the city of Laconia, it is extremely important to respond quickly to a fuel spill or leak to minimize the health risks to people.”

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