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New Report Shows 17 Percent Increase in Underground Storage Tank Cleanup

Release Date: 12/11/2003
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan 202-564-7827 /

(12/11/03) EPA recently issued a Fiscal Year 2003 activity report showing continued progress in cleaning up leaking underground storage tank sites, such as the type found at gas stations. In FY2002, EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks established for the first time a national cleanup goal of 18,000 minimum cleanups each year for fiscal years 2003-2007. As a result of combined federal and state efforts, over 18,500 cleanups were completed in FY2003; this represents a 17 percent increase in the number of cleanups completed over the previous year. Also, as a result of EPA regulations, there has been an improvement in preventing releases and detecting leaks. In fact, the number of new leaks continues to be significantly lower than the annual historical average. For example, approximately 12,000 new releases were reported this year – about 60 percent lower than the annual historical average of approximately 27,000. In 1984, Congress responded to the increasing threat to groundwater posed by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) by amending the nation’s hazardous waste statute, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. EPA was directed to develop a comprehensive regulatory program to protect the environment and human health from leaks from USTs storing petroleum or certain hazardous substances. In 1986, Congress created the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund to provide a funding source for the UST cleanup program. EPA also issued regulations in 1988 setting minimum standards for new tanks, and requiring owners of substandard tanks to either upgrade or close them. For more information, go to: .