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EPA's latest underground storage tank inspections show Improvement

Release Date: 11/14/2005
Contact Information: Erik Sirs
(208) 378-5762

November 14, 2005

For the past two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has routinely inspected gas stations and convenience stores statewide as part of an ongoing initiative to protect Idaho's groundwater. The primary function of the inspections are to ensure that the proper leak prevention equipment is installed, maintained, and correctly operated.

The results of the most recent round of inspections were announced today in Boise by Erik Sirs, EPA's UST Inspection Coordinator in Idaho. The inspections looked at facilities from Idaho Falls to Pocatello and surrounding areas. According to Sirs, in each case, facilities were notified by mail in advance of the inspection.

Of the 80 facilities that were inspected, 53 percent of the facilities were in compliance with key program requirements designed to prevent ground water contamination. The inspection effort found 72 violations and a total of $10,000 in penalties were assessed. Since 2003, compliance has slightly increased yet remains well below the national average.

"We appreciate the hard work and investment many owners have made to comply with the law," said Sirs. "We hope others understand the need for careful operation and maintenance of the equipment used to monitor the tanks and detect potential leaks." "Much more work needs to be done," said Sirs. Congress recognized the need to help the underground storage tank program accomplish its goals and on August 8th, 2005, the President signed into law the Energy Act which included substantial changes for the underground storage tank program. One of the key factors will be to increase inspections nationwide so that each facility will be inspected once every three years.

Idaho remains the only state without an UST program. The responsibility to inspect 1,350 facilities statewide falls to the EPA.

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