Underground Storage Tanks: Here’s All You Need To Know!

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are among the most important pieces of machinery that are used in the fuel industry. In the US, there are more than 553,000 USTs storing petroleum and other hazardous substances. 

Underground Storage Tanks

But while USTs are extremely useful, they can  also be extremely dangerous if not properly taken care of. In fact, it requires great precaution and care to ensure tank safety.

Here’s all you need to know about USTs:

What is an underground storage tank?

An underground storage tank is a tank—or any connected piping—with at least ten percent of its total volume below surface level. They are primarily used to store petroleum products and are installed in gas stations.

‘UST’ not only refers to the tank, but also the ancillary equipment, containment system, and piping.

Underground storage tank regulations

A leak or spill in underground storage tanks can pose a serious hazard; therefore, they are highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fuel—or other combustible substances that seep out of the tank—can pollute the ground, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

Moreover, hazardous material can catch fire and result in an explosion, which can cause causalities, as well as property damage.

Read: EPA provides basic information regarding the regulatory process.

The EPA regulates USTs to avoid and identify leaks as soon as they occur. SUBCHAPTER IX—REGULATION OF UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS clearly states the responsibilities pertinent to USTs.

From provisions regarding inspection to financial responsibility, the statute covers all aspects related to USTs.

Also read: The Ground Water Report to the Nation: a Call to Action

The Ground Water Report to the Nation a Call to Action

A Simple Breakdown:

UST regulations are divided into three sections:

  • Technical requirements:Devised to minimize the likelihood of leakages from underground storage tanks, detect leaks and spills, and ensure quick cleanup.
  • Financial responsibility requirements: Devised to make sure that, in the case of a leak or spill, the owner of the UST has the resources to perform clean-up operations and compensate third-parties.
  • State program approval objectives: This regulation allows EPA-approved state UST programs to operate in lieu of the federal program. See State Program Approval (SPA)for further details.

What should you do in case a leak is detected?

It’s critical that you immediately report the leak and take prompt action to stop it from spreading. A comprehensive plan of action should be in place to minimize damage and ensure safety.

It’s highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the regulations applicable to your specific underground tank application. Purchasing a high-quality, durable UST from a reputed brand can virtually eliminate the chances of leaks and spills.

At John W. Kennedy Company, we offer high-quality underground storage tanks and other petroleum equipment and supplies. We’ve been serving gas stations and convenience stores all across the United States since 1930. Visit our online store to find out more about our products and services.

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