The EPA has awarded the Oklahoma Corporation Conservation Commission $459,000 to respond to petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks (UST). The agency will also receive $809,000 to clean petroleum leaks.
Last month the agency strengthened the federal UST requirements to improve prevention and detection of petroleum releases from USTs, which are one of the leading sources of groundwater contamination. The action also strengthened existing requirements to help ensure USTs in the US meet the same release protection standards.
Leaks from underground storage tanks allow toxic fumes and vapors to escape and collect in areas such as parking garages or basements where they can cause explosions or respiratory illness. Toxic contaminants can also leak into groundwater sources that people depend on for drinking water. Regularly monitoring tanks and pipes minimizes contamination risks.
USTs contain petroleum products like diesel fuel, gasoline and kerosene. Some USTs are used to store hazardous substances. The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that these contaminants can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans, making water unsafe or unpleasant to drink.