Underground storage tanks have been used for years to store heating oil, gasoline and diesel for filling stations, industrial facilities, hospitals, fire stations and other businesses that require the large storage of bulk oil. The storage of these materials falls under the regulations issued by each state or the Environmental Protection Agency. In Tennessee, these tanks must be registered with the Tennessee Division of Environment & Conservation Division of Underground Storage Tanks, unless they are storing heating oil. Heating oil tanks must follow the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rules.
An issue of ongoing concern with underground storage tanks is corrosion. As a tank deteriorates underground, the effects are not visible and are difficult to track. This summer, the EPA announced the results of a study investigating the rapid and severe corrosion of tanks storing diesel fuel. EPA concludes in the report that 83% of underground storage tanks assessed by the survey included moderate or severe corrosion of metal components. Unsurprisingly, only 25 percent of the owners were aware of the corrosion.
The recommendation from the study is for owners of diesel underground storage tanks to more closely visually inspect their tanks and pay special attention to the upper vapor space of the system. No definitive conclusions were given on why this corrosion is occurring. However, it does appear that this noted corrosion could result in an increased number of releases of fuel from the corroding tanks.
In Tennessee, you have 72 hours following the moment of suspected environmental release from an underground storage tank to submit the proper documentation to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Division of Underground Storage Tanks to be included in the state’s Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Trust Fund (LUST). The LUST fund can cover the majority of the cost of environmental assessment and remediation up to one million dollars.
If you would like more information on underground storage tank regulations or need assistance in inspecting or submitting proper documentation for an underground storage tank on your property, contact us at (901) 791-2432.