WASHINGTON (Nov. 9, 2010) — A recent study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found there are thousands of high-priority underground storage tank cleanups around the country remaining unfinished.
There are approximately 607,000 underground storage tanks (USTs) nationwide that store petroleum or other hazardous substances, according to the EPA. The greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater—the source of drinking water for most Americans. The agency said it believes the tank cleanups that remain in the EPA backlog must be addressed and completed to avoid potential disasters.
According to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the EPA study contains data that was collected up to 2009 and includes 14 states. It indicates that 71 percent of those states' backlogged cleanups have been addressed, but 71,814 still remain.
Nationwide, the number of UST leaks that have been reported since the federal government launched its Underground Storage Tank program in 1984 is 491,572. Eighty percent of these cases have been addressed and the storage tank leaks have been cleaned up.
More information on the status of the UST cleanup effort, and the 2009 annual report, is available at the ASA's legislative website.