EPA Awards Oklahoma over $1.2 million to Reduce Water Contamination Risk in Underground Tanks

Posted in: Crisis Response, Ground Water News, United States Water News
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Article courtesy of Joe Hubbard and Jennah Durant | June 30, 2015 | EPA | Shared as educational material

DALLAS – (June 30, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently 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.

EPA recently strengthened the federal underground storage tank (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 U.S. meet the same release protection standards.

The docket for the UST regulation is EPA-HQ-UST-2011-0301 and can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov when the final regulation is published.

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.

EPA regularly works with state, local and tribal governments to ensure that UST systems are installed, operated, maintained and closed safely. UST compliance prevents harm to others and the environment. EPA UST grants help provide technical assistance, outreach, training, inspections, enforcement and remediation.

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