U.S. Tackles Leaking Tanks

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor in Chief; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 12, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Regulations to deal with leaking underground storage tanks have been in force since 1984 and deadlines for compliance began in 1989 for tanks installed before 1969. The Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for promulgating and enforcing the regulations, estimates that there are 400,000 tanks in the nation and that at least 25% are leaking. The estimated cost of bringing tanks up to standard, or replacing them and, if necessary, remediating contaminated soils, is $70,000 each. Texas is one of the more aggressive states and its program is given as a case history. The state may spend over a billion dollars on the program over the next decade, according to the state program oversight body, the Texas Water Commission. Contamination of ground water is the major concern driving the federal program. Houston's program is described as an example of a major city effort. Site investigation, soil vapor surveys, prequalification of contractors and provisions for remediation design work are included in the requirements. The city also retained a management consultant to rationalize the city fuel and vehicle operations. Examples of corrosion prevention options under the regulations are given. A case history concerning an unexpectedly contaminated site is described. Because of the contamination, the project doubled in cost.

Subject Headings: Environmental Protection Agency | Groundwater quality | Leakage | Regulations | Storage tanks | Underground storage |

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