A Tisbury septic hauler has been ordered to remove two large tanks from a tanker truck that were found illegally buried on a property off High Point Lane in Vineyard Haven — running afoul of state environmental regulations for the second time in as many months.

Tisbury health agent Maura Valley confirmed on Wednesday that she had sent a cease and desist order to Maciel & Sons Inc., requiring the company to remove the buried tanks within 30 days.

“It has been brought to the attention of the Tisbury board of health that you have buried two tanker trucks on the Goodale Construction property located on High Point Lane and are using those tankers as underground storage for septage,” Ms. Valley wrote in the letter. “The underground tanks present an environmental risk and must be removed.”

A Tisbury-based septic hauling company, Maciel & Sons was recently fined $500 and had its license suspended for 15 days by the Edgartown board of health after the company pumped septic waste back into a property owner’s tank following a billing dispute.

Ms. Valley said the buried tanks — 8,000 and 9,000 gallons respectively — were discovered after an anonymous complaint was filed against the company earlier this spring. The tanks are the storage portions of former septic hauling trucks, Ms. Valley said.

“It’s the back part of the tanker trucks,” she explained. “It’s not the front of the truck or engine or anything like that.”

It is illegal to bury septic storage tanks according to Title 5 state environmental regulations. State law also requires tanks used for septic storage to be non-permanent, above-ground and on wheels.

The installation of septic storage tanks also requires prior board of health and zoning board approval, as well as a special permit for hazardous materials usage.

Ms. Valley said she conducted a site visit earlier in May, discovering the underground tanks. Troy Maciel, a part owner of the company, said the tanks were being used for septic storage, Ms. Valley said.

“I called Troy, and said, what are you doing? He met me down there, and he showed me where he buried them and he said that he buried them to keep them from freezing,” Ms. Valley said. “And I said, you know, that’s a violation of Title five. They’re going to have to be removed.”

Ms Valley said she did not know when the tanks had been buried at the site, an unaddressed property in a in a crowded industrial corridor off State Road just west of High Point Lane. Ms. Valley confirmed that the property is owned by Peter Goodale, of Goodale’s Construction. The Tisbury park and ride, a town hall annex and town public works building are located in the area, along with other light industrial businesses.

Ms. Valley said the state Department of Environmental Protection has also received the complaint. She said the DEP has requested to be present at the site when the tanks are removed, and that she has coordinated with DEP staffer Brian Dudley.

The cease and desist letter also notes that the state is aware of the violation.

The buried tank issue arose at a Tisbury board of health meeting on Tuesday, according to Ms. Valley. The board decided to hold off on a public hearing until the cease and desist order had been sent. Ms. Valley said a public hearing can be held in the future to assess penalties for the Title 5 violations, which are subject to enforcement from local boards of health, as well as civil penalties and state fines.

Septic haulers are locally licensed on a town-by-town basis by individual boards of health. Maciel & Sons has licenses to pump septic systems in all six Island towns.

Ms. Valley said Mr. Maciel cited Islandwide septage disposal and storage issues when describing the need for the tanks.

“He says he uses it for pumpouts,” Ms. Valley said. “At this point, there’s no place on-Island to dispose of septage waste. It is all shipped off-Island. So storage does become a problem.”

At the outset of the pandemic, the Edgartown wastewater treatment plant — the largest treatment plant on Island — limited its capacity, forcing septic haulers to scramble. Other haulers have installed legal frac tanks on their properties to help with the storage issue, Ms. Valley said.

She said the buried tanks must be promptly removed.

“At this point, the board of health wants them removed. And from an environmental standpoint, they need to be removed,” Ms. Valley said.